Google doodle celebrates Léon Foucault's pendulum
Google doodle: Today's Google doodle celebrates French physicist Léon Foucault and his famous pendulum, which has become a symbol of the intersection of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
Today the interactive Google doodle celebrates Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, a French physicist who in 1851 created the pendulum to prove the Earth’s rotation on its axis, but parents might prefer to thank him for being the big bang that probably led to the Spirograph and creative ways to get kids into STEAM education.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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Sure, Foucault’s pendulum, as it came to be known, provided the first widely accepted proof of rotation using Earth-based, rather than astronomical, observations. However, like a hypnotist’s pocket watch the pendulum rapidly entranced artists and eventually our children in a hybrid world of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math we call STEAM.
“Foucault suspended a 67 meter, 28 kilogram pendulum from the dome of the Pantheon in Paris. The plane of its motion, with respect to the earth, rotated slowly clockwise. This motion is most easily explained if the earth turns,” according to the website for University of New South Wales, School of Physics, Sydney, Australia.
“Foucault was the original hipster of STEAM. He was doing science art before it was cool,” said Beau Turner, founder of MakerSpace757, one of many maker spaces around the country where inventors and innovators have access to a variety of tools and technology and can work in a hive mind environment, here in Norfolk, VA.
Okay, he might not have realized he was doing it, but Foucault was where the pendulum got into the swing of things. After the initial experiment many museums installed replicas of his design as art exhibits, infusing the science into the minds of artists worldwide and fueling their imaginations to wonder what the invisible patterns of the pendulum would look like if we could get them down on paper or sand or even in some cases in light.
I was at MakerSpace last night with my son for a bi-weekly Lego League team meeting and told Mr. Turner about the Foucault doodle. Makers are inventors, an eclectic group of technologists, math geeks, scientists, engineers, and dreamers of all ages.
Maker spaces are kind of like gym memberships for your brain. “Makers believe that if you can imagine it, you can make it. Everyone is a maker, and our world is what we make it,” Turner explained.
Families can join their local independently operated Maker space, a DIY environment filled with the physical tools they need to make their dreams into realities.
Foucault would have taken one look at the place and moved in lock, stock, and pendulum.