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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 experiment. Animation of a lamp on a rope swinging as a pendulum, illustrating the famous church chandelier observations made by Italian physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). In around 1602, Galileo observed chandeliers swinging in Pisa cathedral. His subsequent studies of pendulums uncovered properties that allowed them to be used in clocks to keep time. This animation shows the lamp swinging with three amplitudes, all with the same period (time to complete a swing) of two seconds (shown in table at end of animation). This was one of the discoveries Galileo made, that when constructed a certain way, the period of a pendulum was independent of the amplitude. 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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