Experiment for the next three weeks

For the next three weeks, I’ll be running an experiment in the labs. What I have to do is to use Kater’s pendulum to measure the local acceleration due to gravity in Galway, which is estimated to be 9.81797 m/s^2 (according to Wolfram Alpha, which cites the official Earth Gravitational Model in 2008).

The advantage of Kater’s pendulum over the simple pendulum is that you don’t need to find the centre of gravity or the centre of oscillation of the pendulum, which makes it a lot easier to calculate the length of the pendulum itself. The reason you want to do that is because of this formula which also applies to the simple pendulum:

g = L*(T/2pi)^2

where T is the period of the pendulum and L is the length. Kater’s pendulum is accurate to about 4 or 5 decimal places, which is pretty damn good.

In short, I’ll be measuring the local acceleration due to gravity, and unofficially defining it! Here’s hoping I don’t screw up somewhere.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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