Airy's pendulum experiment, 1854

Airy's pendulum experiment, 1854

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Airy's pendulum experiment. Pendulum apparatus set up at the bottom of a mine to determine the density of the Earth. This experiment was carried out in 1854 by the English mathematician and astronomer George Biddell Airy (1801-1892). The mine used was Harton Colliery, near South Shields, England. The differences in the characteristics of a pendulum at the top and bottom of the mine, which was 383 metres deep, allowed Airy to calculate the density of the Earth. Artwork published in Airy's Lecture on Harton Colliery Experiments.

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