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April 14, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. This is an excellent treatment on the life and science of Leon Focault, the self-taught man who changed the mind of the Catholic Church rather than be persecuted like so many other scientist were for exposing scientific evidence that ran afoul of the repressive dogma of church doctrine and in that alone, it was a monumental achievement. Using his pendulum, Foucault conclusively proved that the earth rotated on it's axis and around the sun- NOT the Catholic Church.

Of course, the apology should have been given directly to Galileo, but hey, better late than never and another feather in the cap of the recently passed John Paul II. Aczel writes with a flowing narrative- "like a novelist", as one reviewer states, and invites people from all backgrounds to understand the life and accomplishments of Focault and to give due recognition and honor to such a dedicated scientist. Well researched with easy to understand science, including illustrations, photos and drawings, one will come to know the man and his genius. Chief amongst Foucault's many discoveries were the modern electric compass, an electric microscope, photographic technology, insights into color theory, heat waves, and the speed of light.

And there was so much more! Before the Preface is a quote from Focault that wisely sums up the import of his pendulum and it's proof of the earth's rotation: "The phenomenon develops calmly, but it is invisible, unstoppable. One feels, one sees it born and grow steadily; and it is not in one's power to either hasten or slow it down.

Foucault Pendulum

Any person, brought into the presence of this fact, stops for a few moments and remains pensive and silent; and then generally leaves, carrying with him forever a sharper, keener sense of our incessant motion through space. December 28, - Published on Amazon. I really liked the book. It covered a lot of interesting historical material as well as the main topic. Two items stand out in my mind, but there are many others: 1. It overturned the Aristolean view the church held that the earth did not move. This is a very important historic event.

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The event that happened on Dec. It may seem a stretch, but this may have parallels in our political future of this country. Napoleon III had a strong desire to make France over in the manner he desired. Can we think of someone in our country U.


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Although my background is in mathematics, I liked the historic interplay between the physcists and mathematicians who were essentially insulted and embarrassed by the Foucault discovery. Another reviewer above was not happy with the book and remarked that the science was wrong.

It would have been good if he gave some references or other details why he felt that way. If one is bent on a scientific treatise about this, perhaps a book like Waves, Vol.

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It might be a worthwhile to pass his claims by a newsgroup such as sci. May 10, - Published on Amazon. That a biography of L? Proving the rotation of the earth and confirming the Copernican view of the solar system had vexed many of history's greatest minds for centuries.

Pendulum:Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science

The author does an excellent job of explaining the evolution of the heliocentric view and of describing the efforts of many notable scientists to prove a theory that sharply contrasted with the church doctrine of the time. However, this was only one of many contributions Foucault would make to science. In addition to advances in photography, lighting, and telescope optics, Foucault invented the gyroscope, a device used in modern times to allow spacecraft to keep their bearings.

Remarkably, Foucault accomplished so much despite a complete lack of formal scientific training.

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Sadly, one of the book's constant themes is how difficult it was for Foucault to receive proper recognition from his colleagues simply because they did not consider him to be a proper man of science. I have read several of Amir Aczel's books, and Pendulum is by far my favorite.

This was his start as a hands-on experimental scientist. This was around the middle of the 19 th century during a revolution in science and technology was transforming Paris, France, and the world beyond. Through his lively reports on weekly meetings of the Academy of Sciences, Foucault soon had the attention of a devoted public audience as well as the scientific elite, who were the frequent subject of his sometimes unexpectedly frank commentary. In February Foucault had worked out the kinks, and he invited the scientific community to view a demonstration in the Paris Observatory.

The elite members of the Academy who showed up at the appointed hour may have been puzzled by the spare display that Foucault had arranged. Suspended from an meter long wire, attached to the ceiling in the middle of the room, was a perfectly formed brass sphere weighing five kilograms about eleven pounds. At the appointed hour Foucault made some introductory remarks and applied a lit match to the cord, which burned through immediately. Then, reversing direction, the sphere retraced its path back to the point of release — but not exactly.

At the end of the return path the sphere was slightly to the left, shifted in a clockwise direction around the room from where it had started six and a half seconds earlier. After its next passage across the room and back the sphere had shifted slightly further clockwise around the room, and so on with each successive swing.

Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science - Amir D. Aczel - Google Books

To the observers it appeared at first that the plane described by the sweeping arc of the pendulum was rotating slowly. But, of course the plane of the pendulum was not moving at all; it was the floor of the Meridian Hall that was rotating beneath it. The influence of extraneous factors can confound the results if the experiment is approached casually. All present that day could see the painstaking care with which Foucault had constructed this apparatus to eliminate these extraneous factors.

The brass sphere was perfectly symmetrical. The point of attachment to the ceiling allowed the cable to swing freely in any direction. And the method of releasing the pendulum assured that at the start there was no tendency for the pendulum to deviate in its path. No one doubted that they were seeing the Earth rotate beneath the pendulum.

The experiment proved nothing new; yet it challenged everything. Everyone already knew that the Earth rotates on its axis.