Why is simple harmonic motion 'simple'? Is there a complex harmonic motion?
Asked by: Tek Yong
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
'The strength and weakness of physicists is that we believe in what we can measure. And if we can't measure it, then we say it probably doesn't exist. And that closes us off to an enormous amount of phenomena that we may not be able to measure because they only happened once. For example, the Big Bang. ... That's one reason why they scoffed at higher dimensions for so many years. Now we realize that there's no alternative... '