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Question

Why is simple harmonic motion 'simple'? Is there a complex harmonic motion?
Asked by: Tek Yong

Answer

If you look at a text on Simple Harmonic Motion in a physics book you see that 'Simple' refers to the ideal case where there is no friction, viscosity etc. Indeed, ideal cases are usually the simples in Physics. But many books also have parts on 'Damped Oscillations' and 'Forced Oscillations' but these are not considered as simple, because they are closer to real cases. Also the solutions to ideal case is the simplest, and the solutions to forced and damped oscillations are more complicated as one could expect.
Answered by: Ertan Salik, M.A. Physics, USC


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