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Simple Harmonic Motion in daily life!

  1. Feb 3, 2008 #1
    Do you think that the daily movement of a student from home to university then again from university to home is an example of simple harmonic motion ?
    Please give the arguments in support of your point of view.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2008 #2


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    This sounds like a 'bookwork' problem to me, as does your question on C++. What do you think?
  4. Feb 3, 2008 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Following up with Hootenanny's comment, what do you think is meant by the word "simple" in "simple harmonic motion"?

    Btw, there is nothing wrong with asking homework questions, just please post them in the homework section of the forums. Also, show that you put some of your own effort into it.
  5. Feb 3, 2008 #4
    No, I don't, but I'm not giving my arguments until you've given yours! :tongue2:
  6. Feb 3, 2008 #5


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    My answer is NO. Tell me why? Start by asking yourself, what kind of information is needed to create a mathematical model using a trigonometric (in this case sine or cosine) function?
  7. Feb 6, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the responses..it is actually a discussion question.
    As for my attempt, here is what I think:
    I think it is not an example of SHM because SHM depends on time which is constant. Going from uni to home and back is not constant time and the distance also may not always be constant. Also its not happening in repitition as there is always a gap between returning back to uni.
    But I think I have yet to understand the full concept of it all...kindly help me here to explain exactly why...
    Thanks so far!:)
  8. Feb 6, 2008 #7
    Ok, for a trig function I need time, right? But how would I relate the 2 together?
  9. Feb 6, 2008 #8
    I have posted my arguments...or my idea...kindly elaborate and share yours:)
  10. Feb 6, 2008 #9
    It depends if the discussion is based off of a student going from home to the university and back again in a "perfect world" (scientifically speaking) As with most physics courses, all the stuff that makes a question difficult is usually neglected. So if you look at it from that point of view, you might be able to justify it as SHM.

    Just a thought.
  11. Feb 6, 2008 #10
    Simple harmonic motion generally comes about from a potential that can be reasonable well approximated by a quadratic function. I don't see any way to do that for someone's comings and goings, and therefore don't see how this motion could be described as harmonic. Periodic, yes; harmonic, no.
  12. Feb 8, 2008 #11
    Very good point...I would agree with you there..SHM can be possible if it 'the perfect world'...otherwise it would be simple speed time story...
  13. Feb 8, 2008 #12
    Yes, periodic..I agree...that too if the same amount of time is taken each time and no obstacle is in the way..
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