Friday, June 12, 2009

Foucault's Pendulum at Musée des Arts et Métiers

Foucault's Pendulum at the Musee des Arts et Metiers

Foucault's Pendulum was was the first proof of the rotation of the earth, at a time when to say such things was still almost considered heresy, as the church historically believed that the earth sat at the centre of the universe.

The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum occured in February 1851 in the Meridian Room of the Paris Observatory.

It is named after the French physicist Léon Foucault, who conceived it as an experiment to visibly demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. The direction along which the pendulum swings rotates with time because of Earth's daily rotation.

In the short video I took at Musée des Arts et Métiers you can see the "wobble" as the pendulum swings.

Foucault's Pendulum is also the name of a very entertaining and educational novel by Umberto Eco which features the pendulum and also the old priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs which is now part of the museum and is where the pendulum resides.

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