Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science

Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science

by Amir D. Aczel
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Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science by Amir D. Aczel

He was neither a mathematician nor a trained physicist and yet Léon Foucault always knew that a mysterious force of nature was among us. Like Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, and others before him, Foucault sensed a dramatic relationship between the rotating skies above and the seemingly motionless ground beneath our feet. But it wasn't until 1851 — in Paris, inside the Panthéon, and in the company of fellow amateur scientist Napoleon III — that Foucault swung a pendulum and demonstrated an extraordinary truth about the world: that it turns on its axis.
Pendulum is a fascinating journey through the mind and findings of one of the most important and lesser-known characters in the history of science. Through careful research and lively anecdotes, world-renowned author Amir D. Aczel reveals the astonishing range and breadth of Foucault's discoveries. For, in addition to offering the first unequivocal proof of Earth's rotation, Foucault gave us the modern electric compass and microscope, was a pioneer in photographic technology, and made remarkable deductions about color theory, heat waves, and the speed of light.
At its heart, Pendulum is a story about the illustrious period in France during the Second Empire; the crucial triumph of science over religion; and, most compelling, the life of a struggling, self-made man whose pursuit of knowledge continues to inform our notions about the universe today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743464796
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 09/14/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 857,948
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Amir D. Aczel is the bestselling author of ten books, including Entanglement, The Riddle of the Compass, The Mystery of the Aleph, and Fermat's Last Theorem. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Plodding, padded, and repetitious. It's a tough job to fold any science at all into a pop narrative, but I thought this book to be so awkward that I looked to see if it was a translation. Seemingly, there is very little material on Foucault himself, so the book consists of background and tangential stuff that tends to repeat, and has the feel of entries in a juvenile encyclopedia. The science - all of it - is either missing or not meaningfully interpreted for lay readers. The major theme, of rejection by the establishment, isn't particularly supported by the (few) quotations, so it seems weak as well. It's a shame, since the pendulum is such an accessible and dramatic demonstration.