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Galileo's Pendulum: From the rhythm of time to the making of matter.

GALILEO'S PENDULUM: From the Rhythm of Time to the Making of Matter

ROGER G. NEWTON

One day, at age 17, Galileo found himself a little bored while attending mass. He fixed his gaze on a chandelier swinging above his head and wondered how long it would take the oscillations to repeat themselves if the lamp were swinging wildly, instead of hardly moving. Thus began Galileo's discovery of isochronism of the simple pendulum, which would revolutionize timekeeping. This book illustrates the profound impact of Galileo's idea by tracking methods of timekeeping before, during, and since his time. The first three chapters review the efforts of various ancient civilizations to reconcile the lunar and solar cycles and to translate them into calendars. In those pages, author Newton also considers the natural rhythms that govern virtually all living things. He then turns to the worldwide timekeeping revolution brought on by the accuracy of pendulum clocks. Greenwich mean time was established in 1884, just in time for the development of mass networks of trains requiring schedules and accurate timekeeping. Looking at modern times, Newton explains the role of Galileo's pendulum in quantum theory. HUP, 2004, 153 p., b&w illus., hardcover, $22.95.
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Title Annotation:Books: a selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 5, 2004
Words:199
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