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One hertz simply means "one cycle per second"; 100 Hz means "one hundred cycles per second", and so on. The unit may be applied to any periodic event – for example, a clock might be said to tick at 1 Hz, or a human heart might be said to beat at 1.2 Hz. The frequency of aperiodic events, such as radioactive decay, are expressed in becquerels.
The hertz is named after the German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, who made important scientific contributions to electromagnetism. The name was established by the IEC in 1930 . It was adopted by the CGPM (Conférence générale des poids et mesures) in 1960, replacing the previous name for the unit, cycles per second (cps), along with its related multiples, primarily kilocycles (kc) and megacycles (Mc). The term cycles per second was largely replaced by hertz by the 1970's.
Sound is a travelling wave which is an oscillation of pressure. Humans perceive frequency of sound waves as pitch. Each musical note corresponds to a particular frequency which can be scientifically measured in hertz. Although the human ear is able to perceive frequencies ranging from 16 Hz to 20,000 Hz, the average human can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 16,000 Hz.
- Frequency converter
- Orders of magnitude (frequency)
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