Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Foucaults Pendulum

Foucaults Pendulum proves that the earth does indeed rotate on it's axis as opposed to the heavens revolving around us. An ingenious and rather beautiful device it is too. Here is a simple guide to the pendulum. From Umberto Eco's novel Foucaults Pendulum; "I knew the earth was rotating, and I with it, and Saint Martin-des-Champs and all Paris with me, and that together we were rotating beneath the pendulum, whose own plane never changed direction, because up there, along the infinite extrapolation of it's wire beyond the choir ceiling, up towards the most distant galaxies, lay the only fixed point in the universe, eternally unmoving. So it was not so much the earth to which I addressed my gaze but the heavens, where the mystery of absolute immobility was celebrated. The Pendulum told me that everything moved - earth, solar system, nebulae and black holes, all the children of the great cosmic expansion - one single point stood still: a pivot, bolt, or hook around which the universe could move" Thats it. No rants. No amusing tales of quixotic football teams or nocturnal encounters with local wildlife. Just the pendulum....................

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