The Foucault pendulum is a simple pendulum consisting of a heavy
metal bob on a long, fine wire attached to a support, that shows the rotation
of the Earth. As the Earth turns on its axis, the plane of swing of the
pendulum, as seen from the Earth's surface, rotates because of the bob's
inertial resistance (see inertia) to change
of absolute direction, until it has returned to its original orientation.
Its period of rotation depends on its latitude.
|Foucault demonstrating an early example of his pendulum
in the Pantheon, Paris
The Foucault pendulum was first demonstrated by Léon Foucault in 1851 at the Paris World's Fair.