Paris, Foucault pendulum back to its place

In Panthéon after two years of restauration to the dome

18 September, 13:39

    Paris, Foucault pendulum back to its place Paris, Foucault pendulum back to its place

     - PARIS- The Foucault pendulum goes home. The renowned instrument devised by French scientist Leon Foucault (1819-1868) to demonstrate earth's rotation, is back under the Panthéon's dome, in the heart of Paris, after restauration works in the famous building where the great Frenchmen are buried.

    That's the spot where the French scientist carried out his first public experiment in 1851.

    The slow rotation of the pendulum suspended at 67 metres of height proved that earth rotated on itself. In front of the wide-eyed public the physicist demonstrated that Galileo Galilei was rights.

    The brass sphere, 28 kilos heavy, tied to a thin metal thread has been re-positioned and is now free to swing, even though the Panthéon sphere is actually a copy of the original one kept in the Musée des Art et Metiers. "It's a very precise, minute, watch-makers's job" Delphine Christophe, who's in charge of the Parisian monument said to the press, hoping that everything would go smoothly "at the first try". The three specialised workers sent there took four hours to replicate the scientific experiment which was one of the most popular and spectacular of all times.

    After a few adjustment the pointy sphere ondulated for six long hours every 16,5 seconds, leaving a circular trace on the floor, just like it did last century. Simple and at the same spectacular evidence of celestial mechanics.

    "Everything has been calculated with the utmost exactitude: angles, anchorage points, the tension of the cord, in the end everything naturally fell into place. A moving scene" said Jacques Burel, the man in charge of the operation, who added: "I wonder if Foucault ever imagined we'd be working on his invention 160 years later". The return of the pendulum marks the end of the first phase of the restauration of the Parisian Panthéon which entailed the stabilisation of structures and fixing of the roofs. The building site was opened two years ago and cost already 19 million euros, but it's not over yet.

    Following the restauration of the dome, works are expected to carry on for other 8 years for a total of 100 million euros.


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