Oscillations of a 4-Mass 2-Spring Object. Is This a Difficult Physics Problem?

Rhett Allain
10 min readMay 19, 2024
Image:Rhett Allain. 4 masses and 2 springs

I saw this question posted on AAPT Communities (not sure if you can access that) and it’s a physics trap. It’s question that is presented as something that might be simple, but it might also be super complicated. Here’s the basic idea of the question.

There are four masses connected by the four massless rods as show above. Each…

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Rhett Allain

Physics faculty, science blogger of all things geek. Technical Consultant for CBS MacGyver and MythBusters. WIRED blogger.