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
Hayfever pills and sleeping aids can 'significantly increase' risk of Alzheimer’s, says US study
Hershey's angers US chocolate purists by forcing company to stop importing 'yummy' Cadbury bars
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
SAG Awards 2015: Best and worst gowns on the red carpet
Nike Back to the Future style self-lacing shoes 'will arrive in 2015'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Narendra Modi: Indian Prime Minister wears suit with pinstripes that spell his name to meet Barack Obama
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...
£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...