Reduced mass

Will any one help me to understand the concept of reduced mass , where does it come from and its physical significance
 PhysOrg.com physics news on PhysOrg.com >> A quantum simulator for magnetic materials>> Atomic-scale investigations solve key puzzle of LED efficiency>> Error sought & found: State-of-the-art measurement technique optimised
 Recognitions: Homework Help Its a trick to make math easier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_mass

Recognitions:
Gold Member
The last two sentences in the Wikipedia article seems to suggest that it can be more than just a math trick.

 The reduced mass is typically used as a relationship between two system elements in parallel, such as resistors; whether these be in the electrical, thermal, hydraulic, or mechanical domains. This relationship is determined by the physical properties of the elements as well as the continuity equation linking them.

Reduced mass

It is used to reduce a 2-body problem into a 1-body problem. Newton's 3rd law (equivalent to conservation of momentum) tells us that if two bodies act upon each other, they will both orbit the center of mass of the system, and the two trajectories will be similar (in the geometric sense). So, you only have to solve for the motion of one body around the center of mass. Reduced mass is a trick used to do this.
 Recognitions: Homework Help And wikipedia is such a reliable source of subtle insights? The relationship mentioned in wikipedia is what makes the trick work. If the elements were not related, then it wouldn't work.