Rotation (page 2)
Try New Approaches
How would the apparent path of a pendulum appear at the South Pole? Repeat the experiment, rotating the hanger in a clockwise direction. Science Fair Hint: Display photographs with labels indicating clockwise and counterclockwise rotations to represent the pendulum's swing at the poles.
Design Your Own Experiment
- Foucault's pendulum was a 220-foot (67-m) wire holding a 62-pound (28-kg) sphere. Find out if a shorter, lighter pendulum would work as well. Suspend a wire from a tree limb. To reduce friction and rotation, use two pieces of wire, one short, the other long. Tie both wires to a fishing swivel. Attach the short section of the wire to the limb and the longer section to a weight, such as a heavy bucket. Place a piece of poster board with a line drawn across it beneath the weight (see Figure 7.2). Set the pendulum in motion in the direction of the line. Observe the motion of the pendulum in relation to the line on the poster board.
- Determine if the length of the wire affects the outcome. Use varied lengths of wire with the same weight.
- Find out if the weight makes a difference. Keep the lengths of wire the same, but attach heavier or lighter objects.
Get the Facts
The path traced by Foucault's pendulum in Paris, at latitude 48°N, appeared to shift more than 10° per hour. (Latitude is angular distance in degrees north and south of the equator.) The degree of shift depends on latitude. Find out why. Learn how to calculate the shift for any given latitude. For information, see Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science (New York: Wiley, 1999), pp. 27–28.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.