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RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pendulum mechanics. Animation of a pendulum pulled back to a height and released, demonstrating the principle that the pendulum rises to the same height at the end of its swing as the height it was started at. Pendulums were studied extensively by Italian physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who uncovered properties that allowed them to be used in clocks to keep time. He discovered that when constructed a certain way, the period of a pendulum (the time it takes to complete a swing) was approximately independent of the amplitude or width of the swing. He also found that the period was independent of the mass of the pendulum and proportional to the square root of the length of the pendulum.
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