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Mechanics: Simple Harmonic Motion and Non-Inertial Reference Frames

Learn how to solve and understand simple harmonic motion in this calculus-based physics class.

start date
4 weeks
10-12 hours/ week

About this course

This is the fourth of a series of modules that cover calculus-based mechanics. You will first explore simple harmonic motion through springs and pendulums. Following that lesson, you learn to solve the SHM differential equation and to use the Taylor Formula for small oscillations.

Next, you will learn how to modify Newton’s second law for both linear and rotational non-inertial reference frames. In particular, you will learn about the centrifugal and Coriolis fictitious forces. You will then study applications, such dynamics in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The complete series of modules is based on the MIT subject 8.01: Physics I, required of all MIT undergraduates. The modules are:

To understand the material in this course you should have taken Mechanics: Kinematics and Dynamics, Mechanics: Momentum and Energy, and Mechanics: Rotational Dynamics. Linked above.


Calculus, Mechanics: Kinematics and Dynamics (8.01.1x), Mechanics: Momentum and Energy (8.01.2x), Mechanics: Rotational Dynamics (8.01.3x)

Meet your instructors

  • Deepto Chakrabarty

    Professor of Physics and Astrophysics Division Head in the Physics Department at MIT

  • Peter Dourmaskin

    Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics at MIT

  • Analia Barrantes

    Physics Lecturer at the Experimental Study Group at MIT

  • Saif Rayyan

    Former Assistant Director of Academic Programs at the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL).

  • Michelle Tomasik

    Lecturer in the Department of Physics at MIT

  • George Stephans

    Senior Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science and a Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department at MIT

Who can take this course?

Because of U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) restrictions and other U.S. federal regulations, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and the Crimea, Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic regions of Ukraine.