The simple pendulum

The simple pendulum

A story is told of Galileo, that he was once attending a service in the cathedral at Pisa when his attention was distracted by the swinging of a lamp which was suspended from the roof by a long chain. Using the beats of his pulse as a clock, he noticed that the time of swing of the lamp remained constant even when the oscillations were dying away. The lamp was behaving as a pendulum. In mechanics, (a simple pendulum is defined as a small heavy body suspended by a light inextinguishable.

Galileo was quick to ealize the importance of the constant time of swing of the pendulum, and later on it occurred to him that a pendulum might be used to govern a clock more satisfactorily than the horizontal oscillating crossbars which were then in use. Before he died in 1642, Galileo left plans for the construction of a pendulum clock, but it was not until 1657 that the first successful pendulum clock was constructed by the Dutch scientist Christian Huygens.

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