What do an ocean buoy, a child in a swing, the cone inside a speaker, a guitar, atoms in a crystal, the motion of chest cavities, and the beating of hearts all have in common? They all oscillate—-that is, they move back and forth between two points. Many systems oscillate, and they have certain characteristics in common. All oscillations involve force and energy. You push a child in a swing to get the motion started. The energy of atoms vibrating in a crystal can be increased with heat. You put energy into a guitar string when you pluck it.
By studying oscillatory motion, we shall find that a small number of underlying principles describe all of them and that wave phenomena are more common than you have ever imagined. We begin by studying the type of force that underlies the simplest oscillations and waves. We will then expand our exploration of oscillatory motion and waves to include concepts such as simple harmonic motion, uniform circular motion, and damped harmonic motion.
- moving back and forth regularly between two points