Introduction Linearity—A Shangri-la

  • W. Richard Kolk
  • Robert A. Lerman


Linear theory is a formidable modeling tool which is unmatched by its nonlinear counterpart. While, as engineers, we are fully aware of Mother Nature’s ubiquitous nonlinearity, we are nevertheless lured by the power of eigenvalues to describe a system’s dynamics. Their compact explanation of an aircraft’s Dutch Roll or the attenuation in an operational amplifier is satisfying and conclusive. That they are unique to the linear world and do not exist in Mother Nature’s Kingdom is something we tend to overlook, making us susceptible to the illusion that her Kingdom is truly linear. As Arnold Tustin1 expresses it ...

... closed sequence systems are delightfully simple to understand and— even more important—very easy to handle in exact mathematical terms. Because of this, most introductory accounts of control systems either brazenly or furtively assume that all such systems are linear ...”


Mach Number Operating Point Nonlinear System Dynamic Operational Amplifier Linear Process 
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Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Richard Kolk
    • 1
  • Robert A. Lerman
    • 2
  1. 1.PortlandUSA
  2. 2.West HartfordUSA

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