Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pendulum plummeted

In 1851, French physicist Léon Foucault constructed a device to demonstrate the rotation of the earth to Napoleon III and the Parisian elite using laboratory equipment rather then astronomical observations. The apparatus which now carries his name caused a sensation and was replicated throughout Europe. The Foucault Pendulum slowly describes a certain pattern with its swing as the earth revolves beneath it (ANIMATION HERE). After his initial demonstration, Foucault installed a permanent pendulum in the Panthéon, which was moved a few years later to the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. But after swinging successfully for more than 150 years, the pendulum’s 67 m cable snapped in 2010 and its 28 kg brass-coated lead bob crashed to the floor of the Musee des Arts et Metiers. The marble floor was fixed, but the bob was irreparably damaged. Scientific instruments curator Thierry Lalande said remorsefully at the time, It’s not a loss, because the pendulum is still there, but it’s a failure because we were unable to protect it.” Foucault's legacy, however, remains intact since his pendulum has become a staple in science museums around the world. And an exact copy of the original has been swinging permanently since 1995 under the dome of the Panthéon in Paris.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.