Back Home

Q: What is a Fourier transform? What is it used for?

By Posted On

Posted in Strange

This fact is the central philosophy behind Fourier transforms (Fourier was very French, so his name is pronounced a little wonky: “4 E yay”). The buffeting movement of the air is the signal, and the tone is the Fourier transform of that signal. For example, for not-terribly-obvious reasons, in quantum mechanics the Fourier transform of the position a particle (or anything really) is the momentum of that particle. Mathematicians tend to be more excited by the abstract mathematical properties of Fourier transforms than by the more intuitive properties. A lot of problems that are difficult/nearly impossible to solve directly become easy after a Fourier transform.