String vibrations are the usual gateway to introducing wave phenomena --- modal decomposition, dispersion, impedance, etc. The linear wave equation is the focus of attention, along with analogies built on intuition from
looking at how transverse vibrations of a string carry over to water waves, coupled springs, electromagnetic waves, and so on.
Closer inspection of a string reveals that linear transversal vibrations are only part of the story. Strings not only vibrate up and down, but also whirl. Pluck a guitar string hard and have a look. Such whirling is the result of mode coupling connecting the transverse and longitudinal motions.
In this talk we describe a computational physics description of a string’s dynamics which, like linear wave theory, we hope can serve as a gateway to exploring nonlinear mode coupling of waves in other physical systems as well.