So goes my physics limerick. Of course courtesy David Morin of Harvard.

It’s no coincidence that physicists study the harmonic-oscillator potential, *kx*^{2}*/2*, so much. A quick application of the Taylor-series expansion shows that *any* potential looks basically like a quadratic, if you look at a small enough region around an equilibrium point.

A potential may look quite erratic,

And its study may seem problematic.

But down near a min,

You can say with a grin,

“It behaves like a simple quadratic!”

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