Timelapse of Foucault’s Pendulum at Cal Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences Foucault Pendulum Clock

I got a new iThing so I decided to try out the timelapse video function on one of the simplest, and yet most attractive bit of technology we have at the California Academy of Sciences : Foucault's Pendulum

Foucault's Pendulum is found at science centers and museums around the world, since was first exhibited in  in February 1851 in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory. It's a perfect demonstration of the phenomenon of the earth's rotation, since the pendulum describes a slow rotation around the circle over the course of the day. Typically small metal cylinders are spaced around the circle that get knocked down as the pendulum swings around.

It's strangely mesmerizing. I've seen museum visitors sit there for 15-20 minutes waiting for the pendulum to knock over a cylinder, cameras at the ready.  While I only recorded a short video, I actually ended up sitting there for about 15 minutes myself. And I did get a tiny thrill when one of the cylinders fell. Science is REAL!


PRO-TIP: The pendulum at the Cal Academy does employ an electromagnetic drive to give the pendulum a slight "push." This seems like cheating, but otherwise the pendulum would eventually stop due to friction.

IMAGE CREDIT: "California Academy of Sciences Foucault Pendulum Clock" by TheDailyNathanOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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