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Importance Of A Pendulum In Science Engineering (Essay Sample)


the task was to write a 500 word essay describing the importance of a pendulum in science


Importance of The Pendulum in Science
Importance of The Pendulum in Science
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot which, when displaced sideways from its equilibrium position, swings freely due to the force of gravity. It consists of a pendulum bob which is a fairly massive object, a flexible rod, and a fixed point. Notably, the motion of the pendulum about its equilibrium point is regular and repetitive, an example of a periodic motion. When it swings, a number of parameters change over time. They include position, velocity, and both kinetic and potential energy. Therefore, an enhanced approach to its study has resulted in better understanding of science in the educational spectrum.
Firstly, it is useful in determining the principles of motion. Once the pendulum bob is pulled sideways, it exhibits Newton’s First Law of Motion commonly known as the law of inertia. It states, “a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an external force” (California Academy of Sciences, 2014). Thus, Newton’s First Law of Motion is demonstrated by the use of a pendulum.
Secondly, it is important in time keeping. According to Matthews (2013), following the analysis of the pendulum motion “Huygens utilized the pendulum in clockwork and so provided the world's first accurate measure of time” (p.5). The period of a simple swinging pendulum is proportional to the square root of its length according to the equation T=Lg where T is the period in seconds, L the length of the pendulum in meters and g the acceleration due to gravity. Evidently, the time taken for the pendulum to complete one oscillation is related to the time for the pendulum to fall to half its perpendicular height, a concept used to design the first clock. Moreover, the pendulum was used to measure a patient’s pulse rate. However, atomic vibrations have replaced the pendulum in the design of the most accurate modern clocks.
In addition, the pendulum has been used to prove that the earth spins. Over the years, scientists have claimed that the earth has a round shape and spins around its orbit. However, it was 200 years after Galileo started his experiments that the second scientist supported the idea that the Earth spins (Jaebi, 2017). Foucault, a French scientist, employed a simple pendulum to reveal that the earth spins and it takes 24 hours. Further, Foucault’s demonstrations display a pendulum that is seen to rotate. Obviously, the setup of the pendulum makes rotation impossible, denoting that it is the ground below the pendulum that rotates (Matthews, 2013).
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