a pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the earth by exhibiting an apparent change in its plane of oscillation.
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Origin of Foucault pendulum
First recorded in 1850–55; named after J.B.L. Foucault
Words nearby Foucault pendulum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
Scientific definitions for Foucault pendulum
A pendulum suspended from a long wire, set into motion, and sustained in motion over long periods. Due to the axial rotation of the earth, the plane of motion of the pendulum shifts at a rate and direction dependent on its latitude, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. At the poles the plane rotates once per day, while at the equator it does not rotate at all.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.