Newtonian Mechanics

Galileo's Chandelier

galileo's chandelierBowling ball pendulum with burning candles stuck in holes, used as prop only.

What It Shows

Rumor has it that one day at the cathedral, Galileo watched the swinging of a chandelier after it had been displaced and lit. By using his own pulse as...

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Time Measurement

Time signals from U.S. Naval Observatory.

What It Shows

There are several services to help the scientist keep time. Some of these can be brought into the lecture hall. Students can listen to the time signals from WWVB (60 kHz signal from Colorado) on a radio receiver or the U.S. Naval Observatory's time service over a telephone line. A publication giving detailed descriptions of the technical services provided by the National Bureau of Standards radio stations is available in the Prep Room. These services are: standard radio frequencies, standard audio frequencies...

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Length Measurement

[M | t | ★] 
Standard meter sticks and selection of cubic volumes. 

What It Shows

No temperature-controlled platinum rods here – just some sticks that are very close to a meter in length. Standard meter sticks as well as cubic centimeters and decimeters are available for reference and/or comparison. Other volumes include a 22.4 liter cube (to get the sense of the size of a mole of gas). Sets of calibrated weights include both metric and English standards from milligrams to several kilograms. Various types of analytical balances and scales are also available:...

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The topic of friction can be a little dry. Consider lubricating students' interest with these two examples

Friction around Pole

What it shows:  Many people have probably observed that, by wrapping a rope around a post, a person can hold in check a much larger force than would ordinarily be possible. In this experiment a flexible thick rope is wound around a horizontal pipe. Due to the interaction of the frictional forces and tension, there can be a considerable difference in tension between the two ends of the rope. In the demonstration, one end of the...

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