Monday, May 17, 2010

Swing No More

I'm not sure where this falls in the pantheon of royal screw ups but it's definitely in there somewhere.

From The Time Higher Education (UK)...
The original pendulum, which was used by French scientist Leon Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth has been irreparably damaged in an accident in Paris. The pendulum's cable snapped last month and its sphere crashed to the marble floor of the Musee des Arts et Metiers.

The museum regularly hosts cocktail parties in the chapel that houses the pendulum, and Mr Lalande admitted that several alarming incidents had occurred over the past year. In May 2009, for example, a partygoer grabbed the 28kg instrument and swung it into a security barrier.

In 1851, Foucault used the pendulum to perform a sensational demonstration in the Paris Pantheon, proving to Napoleon III and the Parisian elite that the Earth revolved around its axis. "It is certainly one of the most important historical instruments of all time" said Amir D. Aczel, research Fellow in the history of science at Boston University. It brought "closure for Galileo" and led the Church to accept the rotation of the Earth, he said.

I wonder what it'll take to get past the Creationist thing.

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