A Proper Gander At Propaganda


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Does The Earth Really Spin? Foucault's Pendulum vs a Helium Balloon in a Car: The Pendulum Problem

By Nbrouard (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

   "My findings about the Foucault pendulum may very well astonish you…The surprising truth is that all Foucault pendulums are fakes. Most of them are fakes because they are forced to do what they do, rather than doing what comes naturally, and all the rest of them are fakes insofar as they are used as proof of the earth’s [supposed] rotation. The only kind of Foucault pendulum which would not be a fake would be one that was free-swinging, operated properly, and either had no explanations, plaques or literature associated with it, or had such which plainly acknowledged that it cannot determine absolute rotation. I know of no such Foucault pendulum anywhere. The Foucault pendulum is a piece of scientific apparatus specifically designed and built to deceive and mislead. It is literally a “humbug” – a sham, a fake, a fraud, an artifice, a pretence, a hoax – and I believe it should be exposed as such. But the Foucault pendulum is more than a hoax. It is actually a religious propaganda tool. Foucault pendulum displays have something very serious and important to prove.' ---  R.G. Elmendorf: A Critical Investigation of the Foucault Pendulum, published by P.C.S., PO Box 267 Bairdford, PA 15006, USA, Introduction. "

It's pronounced 'Fu-Ko'

Th explanation for the Foucault Pendulum experiment is that the Earth would spin beneath the swinging pendulum at the North and South Poles. At the Equator there would be no such effect. The mechanic for this apparent effect is supposed to be the Earth rotating on its axis beneath the fixed pivot point of the pendulum. At the North and South Poles we imagine we are motionless relative to the Earth’s poles. We watch the Earth rotate on its axis and notice that the Earth is moving and the “Fixed Stars” do indeed seem fixed.

The famed Foucault Pendulum experiment was not conducted at either Pole but instead, the experiment was originally conducted in Paris, France. 

A Truly "F'ed" Experiment

There are problems with this explanation.

If the pivot point for the pendulum is located anywhere other than the North or South Poles, the Earth cannot possiblely rotate beneath it. The pendulum’s pivot point is now no longer centered on the point about which the Earth rotates, it is in fact now possesses tangential velocity unlike what it would posses at the poles. At the Poles we are to suppose that the Earth would somehow rotate beneath the pivot point of the pendulum.. In other words the pivot point and the entire apparatus is dragged with the rotating Earth. One can only imagine this experiment logically taking place at the poles. At any other point on the globe, the entire apparatus would be dragged with the rotating Earth. This invalidates this so called experiment. The premise of this so called experiment is illogical in the first place.

This concept also ignores the very real 'laws' of conservation of energy and inertia or momentum. We can demonstrate these latter natural principles. The point around which the pendulum must swing still retains the inertia of the Earth's assumed motion. This famed experiment ignores this very basic concept in favor of the fantastic.

The entire apparatus would have to logically rotate and move with the supposed moving Earth. In fact the pendulum is assumed to possess the orbital velocity of the Earth's supposed motion around the Sum, yet this "experiment" maintains that the pendulum could somehow ignore the supposed rotational motion of the Earth in some magical way.

In order for the experiment to work - the pendulum would have to be magically held by the hand of God.



Below: The red circle possesses the motion of the rotating disk until it is released. The red circle then flies off in a straight line. This is what we can demonstrate. We can see the fallacy of the Foucault & Coriolis type explanations and experiments for ourselves.

These experiments ignore demonstrable physics.

Inertia Matters

 The Foucault Pendulum and other Coriolis type experiments do not seem to show what  the mainstream scientific community claims they do. These experiments seem to ignore inertia. This is has to do with how a race car can drive along a curved wall. See below for more.



3. Why does the pendulum have to be in motion? How is that different from it merely hanging at the pole? Again, why is Newtonian inertia forgotten? The erroneous concept is predicated on the idea that somehow the Earth can rotate beneath a suspended weight. How does the weight being in motion make a difference? Why not put a pointer on the weight and simply let it hang and watch the world turn beneath it? The whole concept is fantasy.

This article will attempt to explain these three points as clearly as possible with sources. The main concept is that these experiments are inconclusive and thus prove nothing as we’d expect no such motion to be detected if the Earth was rotating or if it was still. In either case, the result should be the same.

"The Foucault pendulum (English pronunciation: /fuːˈkoʊ/ foo-koh; French pronunciation: [fuˈko]), or Foucault's pendulum, named after the French physicist Léon Foucault, is a simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. While it had long been known that the Earth rotates, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment. Today, Foucault pendulums are popular displays in science museums and universities"



see also:



Four Quotes

"Leon Foucault was a 19th century French scientist who, because he did not hold an advanced degree and in particular was not facile with advanced mathematics, was considered an amateur outsider by the scientific establishment of his time. He also edited a journal that explained science to the public, another role too often discredited by mainstream scientists.

 You might think of him as an early version of the hero of the motion picture, "Good Will Hunting".

But Foucault was in no way a second rate scientist. His carefully designed experiments significantly improved estimates of the speed of light. He invented the gyroscope and adapted it for the telescope-aiming mechanisms astronomers still use. He also initiated the use of silvered telescope mirrors.

Far more important, the pendulum he built and finally set in motion on January 6, 1851 (the wire broke three days earlier) finally proved that the earth rotates. Remarkably, this long accepted belief had not been proved until then.

How does his pendulum establish this? Foucault, the excellent science popularizer, explained it this way. Suppose you swing a pendulum over a table and you rotate the table slowly. The pendulum will stay in line as the table turns. But if you sit on the table as it turns: the pendulum itself will appear to rotate.  The pendulum, Foucault said, is "fixed in absolute space while, like the table, we and the planet rotate under it." The pendulum appears to us to turn slowly as it swings back and forth but it is really we who are rotating around the pendulum."

"Foucault even came up with a simple formula that tells how long it takes the pendulum to rotate 360°. The time in hours is equal to 24 divided by the sine of the latitude where the pendulum is located. The latitude of the Buffalo Museum of Science is 42°54' North so it takes the museum pendulum about 35 1/4 hours to rotate. It turns just over 10° per hour. The original in Paris at 48°50' North took just under 32 hours. With or without math, you should be able to determine how long it would take at the North Pole. 

Clearly Foucault brought to his experiment deep insight. Unlike an engineer who would employ a series of trials he supported his theory by a single experiment." 

"Much of the information for this column is derived from a delightful book by Amir Aczel entitled Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science (Simon & Schuster). I highly recommend reading it for more about this hero of science".-- Gerry Rising


"Ever since the time of Copernicus it had been taken for granted that the Earth is rotating on its axis. Nevertheless no one had actually demonstrated the fact. It seemed stationary, and no effect had been observed (other than the apparent spin of the sky) that could be attributed to the rotation. In 1851, however Jean Foucault suspended a large iron ball, about 2 feet in diameter and weighing 62 pounds, from a steel wire more than 200 feet long...The swinging pendulum would then remain in the same plane, but the earth, as it rotated, would change its orientation. If the pendulum had been at the North Pole, it would do a complete circle in 24 hours. At the latitude of Paris, the change would have taken 51 hours and 47 minutes. Thus the spectators were actually watching the Earth rotate under the pendulum.’ ---  I. Asimov, Science and Discovery, Grafton Books, 1990, p.323.

‘The Foucault pendulum is one of the best-known experiments in the history of science. It created a sensation in its first public showing in Paris in 1851, and has fascinated scientists and laymen ever since. … 
    This article discusses the history, construction, operation, theory and meaning of the Foucault pendulum, presenting facts about it which are not generally known or understood by the millions of visitors who view these fascinating displays in science museums, schools, planetariums, observatories and other public buildings all around the world every year." 
    "My findings about the Foucault pendulum may very well astonish you…The surprising truth is that all Foucault pendulums are fakes. Most of them are fakes because they are forced to do what they do, rather than doing what comes naturally, and all the rest of them are fakes insofar as they are used as proof of the earth’s [supposed] rotation. The only kind of Foucault pendulum which would not be a fake would be one that was free-swinging, operated properly, and either had no explanations, plaques or literature associated with it, or had such which plainly acknowledged that it cannot determine absolute rotation. I know of no such Foucault pendulum anywhere. The Foucault pendulum is a piece of scientific apparatus specifically designed and built to deceive and mislead. It is literally a “humbug” – a sham, a fake, a fraud, an artifice, a pretence, a hoax – and I believe it should be exposed as such. But the Foucault pendulum is more than a hoax. It is actually a religious propaganda tool. Foucault pendulum displays have something very serious and important to prove.' ---  R.G. Elmendorf: A Critical Investigation of the Foucault Pendulum, published by P.C.S., PO Box 267 Bairdford, PA 15006, USA, Introduction. "

‘For simplicity, let us consider such a pendulum swinging at one of the poles. At other latitudes it will have a more complicated motion, but the principle is the same. Since the pendulum is swinging from a universal joint, the plane of its motion will remain fixed in absolute space, while the earth rotates underneath.’ ---D.W. Sciama, The Unity of the Universe, doubleday, 1959, p.112.

Explanation of mechanics

“At either the North Pole or South Pole, the plane of oscillation of a pendulum remains fixed relative to the distant masses of the universe while Earth rotates underneath it, taking one sidereal day to complete a rotation. So, relative to Earth, the plane of oscillation of a pendulum at the North Pole undergoes a full clockwise rotation during one day; a pendulum at the South Pole rotates counterclockwise. When a Foucault pendulum is suspended at the equator, the plane of oscillation remains fixed relative to Earth. At other latitudes, the plane of oscillation precesses relative to Earth, but slower than at the pole; the angular speed, ω (measured in clockwise degrees per sidereal day), is proportional to the sine of the latitude…”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault_pendulum

Shared Center of Mass, Gravity & Inertia Demo Below:

In this Newtonian Model, we must remember that the center of mass for any body caught up in the imagined 'gravity field' is supposed to be at the somewhere around center of the Earth. Gravity acts like a string of sorts and inertia provides the tangential velocity which when combined with gravity results in the rotational motion we are supposed to imagine is real. This is why pendulum and other such  experiments should yield null results and cannot be regarded as proof of anything as there should be no motion detected by such means in the first place.

"In cases where one of the two objects is considerably more massive than the other (and relatively close), the barycenter will typically be located within the more massive object."




Angular Momentum Proves The Coriolis and Foucault Pendulum Experiments are Wrong and the results should be Null.

Energy is conserved. Whether we imagine ourselves on a spinning globe, whether we actually go on a merry go round or get into a car and drive in circles or up walls, the mechanical demonstrable physics are the same. A tighter turn requires more energy or the perpendicular velocity (the translational velocity) slows. The tight a turn you want to make the more energy you need otherwise your apparent translational velocity slows. Think about how a disk spins. The whole thing spins as one. The apparent per pendular or translational (tangential velocity) motion will be greater on the perimeter and will be reduced as it becomes zero at the center of the disk where the motion is purely rotational. If you walk from the perimeter of a merry go round to the center you would be demonstrating this principle. 

In Newtonian mechanics we have gravity acting as a string pulling bodies towards the Earth’s center of mass. If we walk to the equator we have a translational velocity of some 1000 mph. If we walk to one of the poles we have no translational velocity and are rotating. This works the same for the merry go round and for objects attached to strings. 

So we should expect no Coriolis effect nor should we expect and sort of Foucault Pendulum type experiment to work, the expected result is null no matter the model of the Cosmos. Inertia and gravity make the result the same as if the Earth were not moving. The fact that this is ignored by the mainstream scientific community and contradicts the foundation of the mainstreams own theories, is telling. This is propaganda and not science.

If I shoot a projectile from the equator to the North Pole, it would possess an apparent 1000 mph velocity and would be fired towards a bullseye that was rotating. As the projectile moves away from the equator, its angle relative to gravity’s pull changes and when this happens, energy is naturally conserved and the apparent translational velocity would be appropriately modified. As the turn becomes tighter, the apparent translational velocity decreases. We’d expect no Coriolis effect as a result. As the projectile approaches the North Pole, its gravity vector is now 90 degrees from where it had started. This is equivalent to you walking from the center of a spinning platform to the perimeter and back again. Friction and gravity and your constant velocity of motion are equivalent to gravity, friction and the constant velocity of the projectile. The same physical rules apply. We can demonstrate with this every experiment that the Coriolis effect and the Foucault Pendulum type experiments ignore the Newtonian concept of inertia and gravity. This contradicts one of the very foundational tenets of modern science.

An object making a  tighter turn needs more energy to maintain its tangential velocity. This also applies to projectiles fired on an imagined rotating gravity possessing globe. No Coriolis effect nor any Foucault Pendulum type experiments should be expected to work under either a helio or geo-centric model,

Hello Sun. Hell Oh! Halo. Hell and hall both mean the same thing as cell- to hide or conceal.
For more check out the article index.

Anyone can go fast straight: The challenge is turning. It takes more than ten thousand pounds of force to get a racecar around Turn 3 at Texas Motor Speedway at 180 mph. All that force comes from four tiny patches of rubber--the only thing keeping the car on the track and out of the wall.

“In physics, angular momentum (rarely, moment of momentum or rotational momentum) is the rotational analog of linear momentum. It is an important quantity in physics because it is a conserved quantity – the angular momentum of a system remains constant unless acted on by an external torque.”



Gravitron. Please Note How The Person At The Center Simply Spins. Energy is conserved. This shows why Foucault Pendulum type experiments cannot logically show any supposed motion of the Earth. Newton's model is supposed to be based on this very idea.

A pendulum would move in opposite direction to the balloon. A pendulum or balloon could be used to measure the Earth's supposed rotation. Try it. All you will find is that the experiment yields a Null result and that you cannot prove the Earth spins on its axis.

A pendulum would not show the Earth rotating beneath it, but would show you if you were accelerating. Circular motion is an acceleration too. The supposed compounded motions of the modern Heliocentric model would mean the Earth would also have an acceleration based on its orbit as well as its supposed rotation. No balloon nor pendulum has even shown us such motion.

A Helium Balloon in an accelerating car shows there is a problem with Foucault Pendulum type experiments.

Does the very real atmosphere of the Earth act in any way like we should expect were it rotating on an imagined axis?

Gases obey these natural and demonstrable principles of motion.

Ignoring winds and air currents, have you ever seen a helium ballon do anything but rise straight up into the sky?

The helium balloon never acts as if it were on a rotating sphere.

There is no logical reason to think we are in motion when we are not.

The Earth Does Not Move.

Our senses tell us this all the time. All empirical observation, logic, common sense and real experiment also prove this. Modern science is propaganda or religion. It is predicated on mathematics as the foundation and this is a mistake as math is a tool with very real human limits. Nature does not make mistakes, we do. 

Baffling Balloon Behavior

Physics experiment demonstrating helium balloon inertia. Edited by Tessa Ricci Filmed by Austin Jaspers

MIT Coriolis effect demo

Why do storms spin in different directions depending on their location-and why do they spin in the first place? Play the Cloud Lab: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/cloud/ Find discussion questions for this video and other resources in the Cloud Lab collection on PBS LearningMedia: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/nvcl.sci.earth.coriolis/the-coriolis-effect/

Gravity is Considered To Be The Centripetal Force

Proving that a = v^2/r More free lessons at: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=XjCEumlJBno


If the Ship was traveling at 7000 MPH while making the wider turn, the ship would end up traveling at a slower speed if it tried to make a tighter turn. The ship would have to increase the amount of power it was using to maintain its apparent tangential velocity. In other words the system needs more energy.

"Race tracks are rarely circles, but as a first approximation, we can consider each turn to be part of a circle and model the turning of the racecar using uniform circular motion. Uniform circular motion basically means that the object is moving in a circle at constant speed.

If I tie a string to a tennis ball and swing it at constant speed in a circle of radius r over my head, the only reason the ball goes in a circle is because the string is constantly pulling it toward the center of a the circle.  The string forces the ball to turn.

Just like the tennis ball, a turning car needs a force to make it turn. If you want the car to turn left, you have to exert a force to the left.  At each point in the turning circle, the force that makes the car turn is perpendicular to the direction the car is moving, which makes the force always toward the center of the circle.  This center-pointing force is called the centripetal force, and it depends on the mass of the car, the speed of the car and the turn radius of the track."

"This equation tells you:

  • The heavier the car, the more turning force it takes
    • Because mass only appears one, if you double the mass of the car, you need twice as much turning force
  • The higher the speed, the more turning force it takes
    • The speed is squared — if you double your speed, you need four times as much turning force.
  • The larger the turn radius, the less turning force it take.
    • The turn radius is in the denominator, so it acts oppositely to the mass and the speed."

"Let’s look at some numbers:  The minimum weight of a Gen-6 car is 3300 lbs for a driver of 180-lb, so I’m using a total weight of 3480 lbs (and dividing by 32.2 ft/s2 to get the mass).  Let’s look first at a wide sweeping track like Talladega, with a turn radius of 1100 ft and a speed of 180 mph throughout the turn.  According to the formula, that car needs 6848 lbs of turning force.
Let’s do the same calculation for Richmond, where the turn radius is only 365 ft.  Whoa — you’d need 20,636 lbs to turn at 180 mph.  Why?  The turn radius at Richmond is about 1/3 the turn radius at Talladega, so you need about three times more turning force.  This is why you slow down coming off the exit ramp on a cloverleaf.  70 mph is reasonable on the expressway, but when you’re turning and especially if the turn is tight, then you need to slow down. This is also why cars don’t take the corners at Richmond at 180 mph.
Let’s run the numbers at a more reasonable speed for Richmond, like 100 mph. Then you get about 6,370 mph.  But if you want to go 1oo mph around the corners at Bristol, you need 9,606 lbs of turning force because Bristol has even tighter turns than Richmond. "


a = rw^2 = vw

Where a is centripetal acceleration (which is equal to the "G" we experience), r is radius, v is velocity and w is angular velocity [rad/s].


La Gravitation universelle est régie par des lois simples. Newton en a eu l'idée à partir de la chute d'une pomme et d'une expérience de pensée. (Extrait du film " Newton's Dark Secrets " Nova © 2003.)
What is the acceleration due to gravity at the space station More free lessons at: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=R5CRZONOHCU

"A Foucault Pendulum at the South Pole was determined to have a period of 24 hours, ± 50 minutes. The acceleration due to gravity, g, was determined to be 9.85 ms-2 ± .03 ms-2. The rotation of the Earth was in a clockwise direction if looking down from above the South Pole."


"Solar time is measured by the apparent diurnal motion of the Sun, and local noon in apparent solar time is the moment when the Sun is exactly due south or north (depending on the observer's latitude and the season). A mean solar day (what we normally measure as a "day") is the average time between local solar noons ("average" since this varies slightly over the year).

The Earth makes one rotation around its axis in a sidereal day; during that time it moves a short distance (about 1°) along its orbit around the Sun. So after a sidereal day has passed, the Earth still needs to rotate slightly more before the Sun reaches local noon according to solar time. A mean solar day is, therefore, nearly 4 minutes longer than a sidereal day.

The stars are so far away that the Earth's movement along its orbit makes nearly no difference to their apparent direction (see, however, parallax), and so they return to their highest point in a sidereal day.

Another way to see this difference is to notice that, relative to the stars, the Sun appears to move around the Earth once per year. Therefore, there is one fewer solar day per year than there are sidereal days. This makes a sidereal day approximately 365.24⁄366.24 times the length of the 24-hour solar day, giving approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.1 seconds (86,164.1 seconds)."


Problems with the Pendulum at The South Pole

"It was difficult to make the pendulum swing in a plane instead of an ellipse. After several attempts with various techniques of holding the bob and dropping it we always got some kind of ellipse instead of a plane. This adds to our error because it is more difficult to locate and mark the pendulum arc’s apex. A way to do it is to suspended the bob by tying it off with a piece of string and letting it settle, then burn through the string. The bob would then drop without any outside force and swing in a plane. Since it is against the Antarctica Treaty to have any open flames at the South Pole we could not do this. After much practice Mike Town got very adept at dropping the bob so that it arced in a plane."

"Our second attempt showed the earth rotating in the proper direction but at an angular velocity twice what is expected (i.e., 12 hour days instead of 24). We suspected some kind of government conspiracy but decided to make a further modification and try it again. Our last attempt showed that the earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours, as expected. (We were somewhat disappointed that we did not uncover a government cover-up)."

"Standing on the bottom of the world the Earth spins backward relative to the direction it spins in the Northern Hemisphere (however, water still spins down the drain in the same random direction). Our first attempt with the pendulum showed the Earth spinning backward from what was expected. We didn’t notice this at first because we’re all from the Northern Hemisphere and are accustomed to the earth spinning in an anticlockwise direction. We then realized that from our frame of reference the earth should be spinning clockwise so we had to modify the pendulum. At an altitude of 11,000+ feet we think a bit more slowly."




The Joke’s In The Name “Heliocentric”


The Joke’s Been On Us.

Heliocentric Can Also Mean

The “Hidden Center”.

center (n.) Look up center at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "middle point of a circle; point round which something revolves," from Old French centre (14c.), from Latin centrum "center," originally fixed point of the two points of a drafting compass, from Greek kentron "sharp point, goad, sting of a wasp," from kentein "stitch," from PIE root *kent- "to prick" (cognates: Breton kentr "a spur," Welsh cethr "nail," Old High German hantag "sharp, pointed"). 

Figuratively from 1680s. Meaning "the middle of anything" attested from 1590s. Spelling with -re popularized in Britain by Johnson's dictionary (following Bailey's), though -er is older and was used by Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope. Center of gravity is recorded from 1650s. Center of attention is from 1868.
center (v.) Look up center at Dictionary.com
1590s, "to concentrate at a center," from center (n.). Related: Centered; centering. Meaning "to rest as at a center" is from 1620s. Sports sense of "to hit toward the center" is from 1890. To be centered on is from 1713. In combinations, -centered is attested by 1958.

helio- Look up helio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "sun," from Greek helio-, comb. form of helios "sun" (see sol).

Sol (n.) Look up Sol at Dictionary.com
"the sun personified," mid-15c. (also in Old English), from Latin sol "the sun, sunlight," from PIE *s(e)wol-, variant of root *saewel- "the sun" (cognates: Sanskrit suryah, Avestan hvar "sun, light, heavens;" Greek helios; Lithuanian saule; Old Church Slavonic slunice; Gothic sauil, Old English sol "sun," swegl "sky, heavens, the sun;" Welsh haul, Old Cornish heuul, Breton heol "sun;" Old Irish suil "eye"). 

The PIE element -*el- in the root originally was a suffix and had an alternative form -*en-, yielding *s(u)wen-, source of English sun (n.). French soleil (10c.) is from Vulgar Latin *soliculus, diminutive of sol; in Vulgar Latin diminutives had the full meaning of their principal words.

sun (n.) Look up sun at Dictionary.com
Old English sunne "sun," from Proto-Germanic *sunnon (cognates: Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old High German sunna, Middle Dutch sonne, Dutch zon, German Sonne, Gothic sunno "the sun"), from PIE *s(u)wen- (cognates: Avestan xueng "sun," Old Irish fur-sunnud "lighting up"), alternative form of root *saewel- "to shine; sun" (see Sol). 

Old English sunne was feminine (as generally in Germanic), and the fem. pronoun was used in English until 16c.; since then masc. has prevailed. The empire on which the sun never sets (1630) originally was the Spanish, later the British. To have one's place in the sun (1680s) is from Pascal's "Pensées"; the German imperial foreign policy sense (1897) is from a speech by von Bülow.
sun (v.) Look up sun at Dictionary.com
1510s, "to set something in the sun," from sun (n.). Intransitive meaning "expose oneself to the sun" is recorded from c. 1600. Sun-bathing is attested from c. 1600.


word-forming element meaning "earth, the Earth," ultimately from Greek geo-, comb. form of Attic and Ionic ge "the earth, land, a land or country" (see Gaia).

Gaia (n.) 

Earth as a goddess, from Greek Gaia, spouse of Uranus, mother of the Titans, personification of gaia "earth" (as opposed to heaven), "land" (as opposed to sea), "a land, country, soil;" it is a collateral form of ge (Dorian ga) "earth," which is of unknown origin and perhaps from a pre-Indo-European language of Greece. The Roman equivalent goddess of the earth was Tellus (see tellurian), sometimes used in English poetically or rhetorically for "Earth personified" or "the Earth as a planet."


Foucault's Pendulum is a clever way of demonstrating the Earth's rotation - but it won't work at the equator! More physics at http://www.sixtysymbols.com/




"Under acceleration, a helium-filled balloon inside of a car will jump forward in the direction of acceleration. I have been searching for the reason why with no definitive results. This is the dilemma: An acquaintance of mine, who has a degree from Johns Hopkins is attempting to argue for some magical force that drives the balloon forward, also that it has something to do with gravity."

"In answering this question, I'm assuming you accept that a helium balloon rises in the presence of Earth's gravity. Because helium has a smaller density than air, the buoyant force of air will push it toward the sky against gravity. If you want a more detailed explanation of that, please submit another question."

Answered by:

Alan Chodos, PhD
Associate Executive Officer
American Physical Society



Re: [HM] The Foucault pendulum. 
Posted: Jan 27, 1999 12:59 AM

 Plain Text Reply

John Dawson wrote:

> Although that is rather an old-fashioned science museum, it is one of the
> few places I've been that has a Foucault pendulum marked to show where the
> bob will be at a given hour -- the point being that it does *not* go
> through a full circle in 24 hours, as many suppose. (It would only do so at
> the poles.) I confess that I myself was unaware of the latitude dependence
> until I visited the CNAM. The precise equation involved is a simple example
> of a natural context in which the cosecant function arises.

Some years ago, a sequence of Foucault pendulums was built here at
Monash by the late Carl Moppert of this department and (now Emeritus) 
Professor Bill Bonwick of Electrical Engeineering. The latest of
this series still functions in the building which houses my office
and it takes up the whole of an otherwise unused liftwell.

Bonwick devised a unique drive that can only accelerate the pendulum
(and by just enough) in the direction of its motion, thius avoiding
the problem of "running down".

A more serious problem with all Foucault pendulums is that of
"ellipsing". For a pendulum to swing in a plane is an unstable mode
of oscillation. The full solution is illustrated on the cover of the
Dover edition of Routh's "Advanced dynamics of Rigid Bodies" and it
consists of an elliptical motion with the ends of the ellipse
rotating at a steady rate. This "ellipsing" must be suppressed as it
is a much larger effect than the Foucault effect, which is hard to
deteect if ellipsing is taking place.

Most Foucault pendulums use a device known as a Charron ring to this
end, but the theory of this is not entirely agreed and the results
not wonderfully good. In the American Journal of Physics of (some
10?) years ago there is a lengthy discussion on the matter.

Moppert & Bonwick did not use a Charron ring, but opted for a sponge
rubber sleeve at the maximum amplitude of the swing. Later this was
replaced by further electrical controls.

The results are still in considerable error, but are the best ever
achieved. Moppert conducted an extensive correspondence with the
curators of all known Foucault pendulums at the time and many
curators quite openly admitted to "cheating", by advancing or
retarding the pendulum in the hours that the public had no access.

A smaller version of the Moppert-Bonwick pendulum hangs in the McCoy
(Geology) Building at the University of Melbourne. Monash has
another Foucault Pendulum on display in its Physics department, but
this is a smaller and conventional affair with a Charron ring.

For more on the theory, see Moppert's article in Q J R Ast Soc 21
(1980), pp 108-118.

Mike Deakin 


"The Hadley cell, named after George Hadley, is a tropical atmospheric circulation which features rising motion near the equator, poleward flow 10–15 kilometers above the surface, descending motion in the subtropics, and equatorward flow near the surface. This circulation is intimately related to the trade winds, tropical rainbelts and hurricanes, subtropical deserts and the jet streams."

"Hadley recognized that Earth's rotation plays a role in the direction taken by air mass that moves relative to the Earth, and he was the first to do so. Hadley's theory, published in 1735, remained unknown, but it was rediscovered independently several times. Among the re-discoverers was John Dalton, who later learned of Hadley's priority. Over time the mechanism proposed by Hadley became accepted, and over time his name was increasingly attached to it. By the end of the 19th century it was shown that Hadley's theory was deficient in several respects. One of the first who accounted for the dynamics correctly was William Ferrel. It took many decades for the correct theory to become accepted, and even today Hadley's theory can still be encountered occasionally, particularly in popular books and websites.[2] Hadley's theory was the generally accepted theory long enough to make his name become universally attached to the circulation pattern in the tropical atmosphere. In 1980 Isaac Held and Arthur Hou developed the Held-Hou Model to describe the Hadley circulation."

"The region of subsidence in the Hadley cell is known as the "horse latitudes".


"In 1686, Edmond Halley proposed his theory attempting to explain the Trade Winds. Halley's theory remained the most widely known internationally almost to the beginning of the 19th century.

Hadley was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 20 February 1735, and on 22 May that year published a short paper in Philosophical Transactions (vol. 39, 1735, 58–62) giving his own explanation of the Trade Winds.[1] His theory, remained unknown, but it was independently created several times. Among the later creators was John Dalton, who later eventually became aware of Hadley's priority. During the second half of the 19th century the theory gradually became known as "Hadley's principle".[2]

In retrospect the crucial step forward was the recognition that the Earth's rotation plays a role in the direction taken by air mass that moves relative to the Earth. That element had been missing in Hadley's proposal.[citation needed]

Later, in the second half of the 19th century, Hadley's theory was shown to be deficient in several respects. Hadley's theory is based on an assumption that when air mass travels from one latitude to another its linear momentum is conserved. However, since the air mass is at all times in a state of circumnavigating the Earth axis, it is in fact the angular momentum that is conserved, an effect known as the Coriolis effect. When using the correct angular momentum conservation in calculations the predicted effect is twice as large as when the erroneous conservation of linear momentum is used. The fact that Hadley's principle is a deficient theory is not known to all people who should know; it can still be found in popular books and popular websites."



"In physics, the Coriolis force is an inertial force (also called a fictitious force) that acts on objects that are in motion relative to a rotating reference frame. In a reference frame with clockwise rotation, the force acts to the left of the motion of the object. In one with anticlockwise rotation, the force acts to the right. Though recognized previously by others, the mathematical expression for the Coriolis force appeared in an 1835 paper by French scientist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis, in connection with the theory of water wheels. Early in the 20th century, the term Coriolis force began to be used in connection with meteorology. Deflection of an object due to the Coriolis force is called the 'Coriolis effect'.

Newton's laws of motion describe the motion of an object in an inertial (non-accelerating) frame of reference. When Newton's laws are transformed to a rotating frame of reference, the Coriolis force and centrifugal forceappear. Both forces are proportional to the mass of the object. The Coriolis force is proportional to the rotation rate and the centrifugal force is proportional to its square. The Coriolis force acts in a direction perpendicular to the rotation axis and to the velocity of the body in the rotating frame and is proportional to the object's speed in the rotating frame. The centrifugal force acts outwards in the radial direction and is proportional to the distance of the body from the axis of the rotating frame. These additional forces are termed inertial forces, fictitious forces or pseudo forces.[1] They allow the application of Newton's laws to a rotating system. They are correction factors that do not exist in a non-accelerating or inertial reference frame.

A commonly encountered rotating reference frame is the Earth. The Coriolis effect is caused by the rotation of the Earth and the inertia of the mass experiencing the effect. Because the Earth completes only one rotation per day, the Coriolis force is quite small, and its effects generally become noticeable only for motions occurring over large distances and long periods of time, such as large-scale movement of air in the atmosphere or water in the ocean. Such motions are constrained by the surface of the Earth, so only the horizontal component of the Coriolis force is generally important. This force causes moving objects on the surface of the Earth to be deflected to the right (with respect to the direction of travel) in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The horizontal deflection effect is greater near the poles and smallest at the equator, since the rate of change in the diameter of the circles of latitude when travelling north or south, increases the closer the object is to the poles.[2] Rather than flowing directly from areas of high pressure to low pressure, as they would in a non-rotating system, winds and currents tend to flow to the right of this direction north of the equator and to the left of this direction south of it. This effect is responsible for the rotation of large cyclones (see Coriolis effects in meteorology). To explain this intuitively, consider how an object that moves northwards from the equator has a tendency to maintain its greater speed at the equator (rotating around towards the right as you look at the sphere of the Earth), where the "horizontal diameter" is larger, and therefore tends to move towards the right as it passed northwards where the "horizontal diameter" of the Earth (the rings of latitude) is smaller, and the linear speed of local objects on the Earth's surface at that latitude is slower."


"Italian scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli and his assistant Francesco Maria Grimaldi described the effect in connection with artillery in the 1651 Almagestum Novum, writing that rotation of the Earth should cause a cannonball fired to the north to deflect to the east.[3] The effect was described in the tidal equations of Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1778.

Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis published a paper in 1835 on the energy yield of machines with rotating parts, such as waterwheels.[4] That paper considered the supplementary forces that are detected in a rotating frame of reference. Coriolis divided these supplementary forces into two categories. The second category contained a force that arises from the cross product of the angular velocity of a coordinate system and the projection of a particle's velocity into a plane perpendicular to the system's axis of rotation. Coriolis referred to this force as the "compound centrifugal force" due to its analogies with the centrifugal force already considered in category one.[5][6] The effect was known in the early 20th century as the "acceleration of Coriolis",[7] and by 1920 as "Coriolis force".[8]

In 1856, William Ferrel proposed the existence of a circulation cell in the mid-latitudes with air being deflected by the Coriolis force to create the prevailing westerly winds.[9]

Understanding the kinematics of how exactly the rotation of the Earth affects airflow was partial at first.[10] Late in the 19th century, the full extent of the large scale interaction of pressure gradient force and deflecting force that in the end causes air masses to move 'along' isobars was understood."


"A fictitious force, also called a pseudo force,[1] d'Alembert force[2][3] or inertial force,[4][5] is an apparent force that acts on all masses whose motion is described using a non-inertial frame of reference, such as a rotating reference frame."

Note relating to M. Foucault's new mechanical proof of the Rotation of the Earth.  (1851) 
by Charles Wheatstone

The following papers were read: - 1. "Note relating to M. Foucault's new mechanical proof of the Rotation of the Earth." By C.Wheatstone, Esq., Corresponding member of the Acadamies of science of Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Turin, Rome, Dublin, &c. Reveived May 15, 1851.

The experiment which led M. Foucault to his ingenious and interesting researches relating to the motion of the earth, is stated by him thus:- "Having fixed on the arbor of a lathe and in the direction of the axis, a round and flexible steel rod, it was put in vibration by deflecting it from its position of equilibrium and leaving it to itself. A plane of oscillation is thus determined, which, from the persistence of the visual impressions, is clearly delineated in space; now it was remarked that, on turning by the hand the arbor which serves as a support to this vibrating rod, the plane of oscillation is not carried with it."

This persistence of the plane of oscillation of a vibrating rod, notwithstanding the rotation of the point to which its end is fixed does not appear to have hitherto been made the subject of philosophical observation. Ordinary notions even seem to have been opposed to this now recognized fact. Chladni in his treatise on Acoustics, in the chapter, "On the co-existence of vibrations with other kinds of motion." states as follows:-

"Vibratory motion may co-exist with all other kinds of motions in an infinity of different manners, as has been demonstrated by Dan. Bernouilli, and L. Euler in vols. xv and xix, of the Nor. Comment. Acad. Petrop., and confirmed by experiment. These co-existences of different motions occur in all sonorous bodies without exception; we may, for example, produce the sound of a string stretched on a board, or that of a plate, a tuning fork, a bell, &c; and while the vibrations still last, impress on this sonorous body a motion of rotation round its axis, and at the same time a progressive motion: thus all these motion may be performed in the same time, without one being hindered by the other; but the absolute motion of each point will be very complicated."

Now this is true only when the vibrating body is constrained to vibrate in one direction. When the rod or string is equally flexible in every direction, the plane of vibration given to it from any original impulse is constantly maintained whatever may be the velocity of rotation communicated to its point of support, provided the axis of vibration remains in the same position, or move only parallel to itself.

This observed independence of the plane of oscillation on the point of attachment led M. Foucault to assume, that were a flexible pendulum suspended from a fixed point in the prolongation of the axis of the Earth, that is above the plane of oscillation maintaining an invariable position in space would appear to a spectator on the earth's surface and moving with it to make an entire revolution in twentyfour hours, but in the opposite direction to that of the rotation of the Earth.

What takes place at other points of the earth's surface is more difficult to determine; but M. Foucault, from mechanical and geometrical considerations, was led to the conclusion that the angular displacement of the plane of oscillation is equal but opposite to the angular momentum of the earth multiplied by the sine of the latitude. According to the theory of rotation, first established by Frisi and more fully developed by Euler and Poinsot, the velocity of rotation of the earth may be considered as the resultant of two angular velocities, one round the vertical of the point where the observer is placed, and the other round the meridian or horizontal line lying N. and S. The component of the angular velocity estimated round the vertical axis is n sin gamma, and the plane of oscillation not participating in this motion remains at rest with respect to it, and therefore appears to an observer moving with the point, to rotate with the same velocity in the contrary direction.

The experiment made by M. Foucault is said, both in the direction and magnitude of the motion of the plane of oscillation of the pendulum, fully to conform the indications of the theory. The difficulty, however, of the mathematical investigation of the subject, and the delicacy of the experiment, liable as it is to so many extraneous causes of error, have induced many persons to doubt either the reality of the phenomenon or the satisfactoriness of the explanation. Another experimental proof, therefore, not depending on the rotation of the earth, that the plane of oscillation of a vibrating line remains at rest with relation to the vertical component of the real axis of rotation, may not be unacceptable. With this in view I have devised the apparatus I am about to describe.

A semicircular arch from one one to two feet radius is fixed vertically on a horizontal wheel, and may thus be moved with any degree of rapidity from any one azimuth to another. A rider slides along the inner edge of the arch, which is graduated, and may be fixed at any degree marked thereon. A spiral spring wire, by means of which a slow vibration is obtained with a comparatively short length, is attached at the lower end to a pin fixed in the axis of the semicircle, so that the point of attachment may be the axis of rotation, and at the upper end it is fixed to a similar pin in a parallel position fixed to the rider. The vertical semicircle is not placed in a diameter of the horizontal wheel, but parallel to it, at such distance as not to intercept, from the eye of the observer, the vertical plane passing through the diameter, and in which plane the wire in all its positions remains.

When the upper end of the wire is placed at 90º, that is when it coincides with the axis of rotation, if the wire be caused to vibrate in any given plane, say from N. to S., it will continue to do so whatever rotation may be communicated to the wheel; so that with respect to the moving wheel, or the axis of the wire, the plane of vibration will move with the same velocity and in the opposite direction. When the rider is fixed at 30º, and the wire makes therefore an angle of 60º with the axis of rotation so as to describe in its motion the surface of a cone having this inclination to the vertical, it will be observed that the plane of the vibration makes one complete rotation during two rotations of the wheel; this is best observed by fixing the eye so that its axis shall coincide with a line in the same vertical plane with the wire, while walking round with the wheel during its rotation. When the rider is fixed at 19½º, the plane of vibrations makes one rotation during three rotations of the wheel; when fixed at 14½º, it makes one rotation during four of the wheel, &c.; and when it is fixed at 0º, the wire lying horizontally, no rotation of the plane of vibration occurs. It is needless to observe that the sines of 90º, 30º, 19½º, 14½º, 0º, correspond to the numbers 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 0, the reciprocals of the numbers expressing the respective times of rotation. [1]

It is not necessary that the wire should have one of its ends fixed in the axis of rotation: if it be parallel to a wire so fixed, the rotation of the plane of vibration will be exacly similar; in such a case the wire or axis of vibration will describe the surface of two cones having their common apex in the axis of rotation.

The axis of a flexible pendulum can only assume a position vertical to the point of the earth's surface over which it is placed. Were it possible to maintain the vibration of a stretched wire occasioned by an original impulse, for a sufficient length of time, the apparent rotation of its plane of vibration would vary with the inclinations of the wire to the axis of the earth: placed in this axis, it would make a rotation in 24 hours, it would become progressively slower according to the law above given, as it approaches the plane of the equator, and when anywhere in this plane the vibrations would always be performed in the same direction.

  1.  When the dimensions of the apparatus are as above given, I find that hardened brass wire (no 26), coiled so as to form a helix of one quarter of an inch in diameter, shows the effect well. The thickest spiral wire employed in the manufacture of artificial flowers, which can be procured of any wire-drawer, will also answer the purpose.
    The best way of setting the wire in vibration is to press the finger upon it in the middle, so as to deflect it in the plane in which the vibrations are required to continue, and then suddenly to withdraw the finger in the direction of the vibrations. The deflection must not be too great, or the elasticity of the wire will be injured.