Important Equations


frequency = # cycles / total time


 Period = total time / # cycles


        Period refers to the time which it takes to do something. When an event occurs repeatedly, then we say that the event is periodic and refer to the time for the event to repeat itself as the period. The period of a wave is the time for a particle on a medium to make one complete vibrational cycle. Period, being a time, is measured in units of time such as seconds, hours, days or years. The period of orbit for the Earth around the Sun is approximately 365 days; it takes 365 days for the Earth to complete a cycle. The period of a typical class at a high school might be 55 minutes; every 55 minutes a class cycle begins (50 minutes for class and 5 minutes for passing time means that a class begins every 55 minutes). The period for the minute hand on a clock is 3600 seconds (60 minutes); it takes the minute hand 3600 seconds to complete one cycle around the clock. When a physics teacher is regular with his stools, the period of the stools is 24 hours. That doesn't mean he spends 24 hours on the stool, it merely means that it takes 24 hours before he must return to the stools to repeat the daily cycle. (Of course, this assumes that a trip to the stools is a periodic event for that teacher.)

Angular Frequency

Remember there are 2pi radians in one complete revolution

Angular frequencyw, is defined as the number of circular revolutions in a given time interval. It is also measured in units of Hertz (Hz), where 1 Hz = 1 s–1. For example, the second hand on a clock completes one revolution every 60 seconds and therefore has an angular frequency of 1 /60 Hz.

 Definition provided by Physics Classroom

Frequency Verses Period 


        Hertz is a unit of frequency (of change in state or cycle in a sound wave, alternating current, or other cyclical waveform) of one cycle per second. It replaces the earlier term of "cycle per second (cps)." Even though a Hertz is a per second, which would seem to me to be a base unit (because a second is a base unit).  It's not considered a base unit because a hertz is CYCLE / SECONDS which means in order to "measure" a hertz you would need to count (measure) the number of cycles and and time,  and thats why it's not a base unit


       The frequency of a wave refers to how often the particles of the medium vibrate when a wave passes through the medium. Frequency is a part of our common, everyday language. For example, it is not uncommon to hear a question like "How frequently do you mow the lawn during the summer months?" Of course the question is an inquiry about how often the lawn is mowed and the answer is usually given in the form of "1 time per week." In mathematical terms, the frequency is the number of complete vibrational cycles of a medium per a given amount of time. Given this definition, it is reasonable that the quantity frequency would have units of cycles/second, waves/second, vibrations/second, or something/second. Another unit for frequency is the Hertz(abbreviated Hz) where 1 Hz is equivalent to 1 cycle/second. If a coil of slinky makes 2 vibrational cycles in one second, then the frequency is 2 Hz. If a coil of slinky makes 3 vibrational cycles in one second, then the frequency is 3 Hz. And if a coil makes 8 vibrational cycles in 4 seconds, then the frequency is 2 Hz (8 cycles/4 s = 2 cycles/s).

Frequency Vs Period

Frequency Verse Period 

       Frequency and period are distinctly different, yet related, quantities. Frequency refers to how often something happens. Period refers to the time it takes something to happen. Frequency is a rate quantity. Period is a time quantity. Frequency is the cycles/second. Period is the seconds/cycle. As an example of the distinction and the relatedness of frequency and period, consider a woodpecker that drums upon a tree at a periodic rate. If the woodpecker drums upon a tree 2 times in one second, then the frequency is 2 Hz. Each drum must endure for one-half a second, so the period is 0.5 s. If the woodpecker drums upon a tree 4 times in one second, then the frequency is 4 Hz; each drum must endure for one-fourth a second, so the period is 0.25 s. If the woodpecker drums upon a tree 5 times in one second, then the frequency is 5 Hz; each drum must endure for one-fifth a second, so the period is 0.2 s. Do you observe the relationship? Mathematically, the period is the reciprocal of the frequency and vice versa. In equation form, this is expressed as follows.

Frequency and Period