The MathWorks logo is a lighted, reflective, surface plot of a variant of an eigenfunction of the L-shaped membrane. While the logo itself is a familiar icon, its mathematical background is less well known.
When a picnic basket covers one quarter of a square beach blanket, the remaining three quarters of the blanket form an L-shaped membrane. On a windy day, the motion of this membrane can be described using a wave equation.
In this article, Cleve Moler explains the mathematical underpinnings of the MathWorks logo, covering the wave equation, the L-shaped membrane, and its eigenfunctions, or modes of vibration.