Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Xavier Magazine | June 17, 2018

Scroll to top


No Comments

Behind the… Foucault Pendulum

Behind the… Foucault Pendulum
By Jen Saltsman

pendulum• The Lindner Family Physics Building was built in 1991 to house a Foucault pendulum—a device named after the physicist Léon Foucault. A dome was included in its construction plans to accommodate the length of the pendulum’s wire.

• The pendulum was installed seven years later after a fundraising drive organized by professors in the Department of Physics.

• According to a 1998 issue of Xavier Newswire, the pendulum’s total cost was approximately $25,000.

• The brass ball that hangs off the wire is technically called a bob and weighs 254 pounds—that’s equivalent to the weight of about one and a half kegs of beer.

• The steel wire is 25 feet long.

• Though the bob appears to swing in a circular motion, it actually oscillates on a single plane while the earth rotates around it.

• Only five other Foucault pendulums operate in Ohio, ranging from Cleveland to Portsmouth.

• The map underneath—which is in proper north-south direction—features the United States and is made up of 133 individual pieces of wood. It was designed and created by former physics professor Raymond Miller.

• The map’s design itself is called an intarsia, which is an art technique developed during the Renaissance that involves inlaid pattern and wooden mosaics.

• The map’s pieces, which are cut at 10-degree angles, are made of different types of wood, including Red Oak, African Mahogany and American Walnut.


Submit a Comment