Simple harmonic motion (SHM)

Simple harmonic motion (SHM) follows logically on from linear motion and circular motion. It is one of the more demanding topics of Advanced Physics. It gives you opportunities to revisit many aspects of physics that have been covered earlier.

The topic is quite mathematical for many students (mostly algebra, some trigonometry) so the pace might have to be judged accordingly. Good physical insight can lead to a good qualitative/descriptive understanding, but in exams students will be expected to tackle numerical questions.

You will need to draw out the lesson that SHM is just one type of oscillatory motion. Other types can often be broken down into a sum of SHMs of different frequencies. This is a characteristic of physics – we choose a simple system which we can analyse, and then use our understanding to tackle more complex systems.

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