Christian Huygens’ Remarkable Pendulum

  • Douglas W. MacDougal
Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)


The pendulum is curiously related to circular motion in a gravitational field, and its investigation helped lay the foundations of celestial mechanics. With it, the brilliant polymath Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) in the mid-1600s was able deduce the vertical fall of an object in a given time and determine the pull of Earth’s gravity with remarkable accuracy. His results, developed in the course of his invention of the pendulum clock, were used by Newton and, as will be discussed in  Chap. 6, gave critical, empirical to support his universal theory of gravitation.


Incline Plane Circular Motion Downward Force Heavy Body Steep Angle 
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    Hawking S (ed) (2002) On the shoulders of giants: dialogs concerning two new sciences. Running Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
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    Huygens C (1986) The pendulum clock or geometrical demonstrations concerning the motion of pendula as applied to clocks. University of Iowa Press, AmesGoogle Scholar
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    Sir Isaac Newton (1949) Mathematical principles of natural philosophy (translation by Andrew Motte, 1729, revised by F. Cajori). University of California Press, Berkeley, p 408Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas W. MacDougal
    • 1
  1. 1.PortlandUSA

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