Foucault’s Pendulum

Genesis 1:5b
“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

Less than an hour’s drive from where I live is the large city of Portland, Oregon. At the Oregon Convention Center in that city is the world’s largest Foucault’s Pendulum. Many museums and other institutions around the world have such a pendulum. These large, swinging pendulums are based on that used by French scientist Léon Foucault for a famous experiment. The giant pendulum is set swinging. As the day progresses, the line of the pendulum swing rotates through a circle. This is because of the rotation of the earth on its axis. A pendulum at the equator would not rotate its swing at all, whereas one at the North or South Pole would rotate once in 24 hours. At other latitudes, the rate of recession of the swing varies by the sine of the angle of latitude. So another feature of Foucault’s pendulum is that it verifies the fact that the Earth is a sphere, and not flat. 

The best explanation, then, of the observed effects of Foucault’s pendulum is that the Earth is a sphere, rotating on an axis of rotation. While neither of these properties is explicitly named as such in the Bible, they are not opposed to the Bible’s teaching. And observable, current scientific experimentation is most certainly in accord with a biblical method of doing science. 

When Foucault developed this experiment in the 19th Century, he could not have foreseen how widespread it would have become, or how its results would have begun to be doubted. 

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for how You made this world in a manner that it can be measured and categorized. Amen. 

Author: Paul F. Taylor 

Ref: Oprea, John (1995). “Geometry and the Foucault Pendulum”. Amer. Math. Monthly. 102 (6): 515–522.

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