The Big Idea
The development of devices to measure time, like the pendulum, led to the analysis of periodic motion. Such motion repeats itself in equal intervals of time (called periods) and is also referred to as harmonic motion. When an object moves back and forth over the same path in harmonic motion it is said to be oscillating. If the distance such an object travels in one oscillation remains constant, it is called simple harmonic motion (SHM). A grandfather clock’s pendulum and the quartz crystal in a modern watch are examples of SHM.