How is SHM Simple Harmonic?

Some of you may be curious why SHM is given such an exotic name. Actually, it comes from mathematicians’ knowledge that any periodic function can be formed by summing many sinusoidal functions of different frequencies, or harmonics.

For example, the periodical rectangular function (drawn in red) can be constructed by summing five harmonics (drawn in blue). If you want a more perfect rectangular function, more sinusoidal functions of higher frequencies, or higher harmonics are required. If you’re interested, Discrete Fourier Transform is how one can solve for the harmonics of any periodic function.

Simple Harmonic Motion is called simple harmonic because it consists of just one sinusoidal function. In that sense, it is the most simplest periodic motion.

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