Google Doodle celebrates French physicist Léon Foucault’s 194th birthday with pendulum tribute
Foucault pendulum is a simple device introduced in 1851 to confirm that the earth rotated
The interactive doodle is based on the Foucault pendulum - a radical device he created to demonstrate the effect of the earth’s rotation - and allows users to manipulate the swinging bob according to where on earth they happen to be.
The Foucault pendulum is a simple device introduced in 1851 to confirm, in as basic a way as possible, the long-assumed theory that the earth rotated.
Foucault’s original pendulum was first exhibited in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory, and consisted of a 28kg brass-coated lead bob with a 67-metre long wire from the dome of the Pantheon. The pendulum made a full circle once every 32.7 hours, swinging clockwise at 11 degrees per hour.
Foucault was born the son of a publisher in Paris on September 18, 1819 and originally studied medicine, but was forced to give it up after developing a fear of blood.
His career as a physicist began shortly after, assisting and collaborating with Alfred Donne and Hippolyte Fizeau.
In 1850 he conducted a ground-breaking experiment that was viewed as “driving the last nail in the coffin” of Newton’s corpuscle theory of light when it proved light travels more slowly through water than through air.
In 1851 Foucault caused a sensation with his famous pendulum experiment, and the following year he used and named (but did not invent) the gyroscope – a device for measuring and maintaining orientation.
In 1855 Foucault discovered that the force required for the rotation of a copper disc becomes greater when it is made to rotate with its rim between the poles of a magnet, the disc at the same time becoming heated by the eddy current or “Foucault currents” induced in the metal.
Two years later he invented the Foucault polarizer, and in 1858 devised a method of testing the mirror reflecting telescope to determine its shape – the so-called Foucault knife-edge test which is still used in amateur telescopes.
Foucault died of multiple sclerosis on February 11, 1868 at the age of 48 after being made a member of many of the top scientific societies in Europe.
He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, with his name among those of seventy-two French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians engraved on the Eiffel Tower. The asteroid 5668 Foucault is also named after him.
Life & Style blogs
Penis size study: what's 'normal' anyway?
Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
Penis size: is there a correlation with sexual satisfaction? A scientific look
Majority of UK women don't bathe or take a shower daily
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 4 Adam Levine's biggest fan had a panic attack upon meeting him, so the singer laid down on the floor to get a photo with him
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Software Application Developer (C# & ASP.Net, SQL S...
£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...