The harmonic oscillator

Many physical systems, including chemical and biological ones, oscillate. And the idea of oscillation of a single object (or variable) generalizes to many coordinates oscillations to form the basis of waves, and our understanding of the fundamental physical character of sound and light.

In this chapter, we analyze the simplest models of a one-variable oscillation, the mass on a spring and the pendulum, and build up the mathematics needed to understand not just simple oscillations, but of waves as well.

For more discussion of the context and motivation for this chapter, see the following page:

Here's the full Table of Contents of the chapter. The notation "(EX)" means that there is a worked example attached to that page. The notation "{WO}" means there is an activity (a Workout) attached to that page, usually one that involves working with a simulation.


Joe Redish 5/26/19

Article 661
Last Modified: July 19, 2019