The Life and Science of Léon Foucault: The Man who Proved the Earth Rotates

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 338 pages
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Léon Foucault's name is synonymous with his famous pendulum experiment, which proved for the first time that the Earth rotated. However, his contributions to science went well beyond his pendulum - the gyroscope; laboratory measurements of the speed of light; the invention of methods to make perfect optical surfaces which have led to today's enormous reflecting telescopes. He also worked as an early photographer and a newspaper journalist; with electricity; and attempted to devise (unsuccessfully) a universal mechanical governor. This blend of the pure and the applied in Foucault's work makes him a fascinating case study of one of the last amateur scientists. This abundantly-illustrated biography will prove to be a fascinating read for anyone interested in Foucault as a pioneer of science. Some knowledge of elementary scientific terms is required, but no detailed knowledge of physics is assumed.

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About the author (2003)

William Tobin has been at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he has been Director of the Mount John University Observatory and is currently a part-time senior lecturer in astronomy.

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