Foucault's Pendulum cable snaps, causing irreparable damage


The original 1851 Foucault's Pendulum at the Paris Technical museum fell from its cable, causing irreparable damage to the 28 kg brass bob.

The original pendulum, which was used by French scientist Leon Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth and which forms an integral part of [Umberto] Eco's novel's labyrinthine plot, has been irreparably damaged in an accident in Paris.

The pendulum's cable snapped last month and its sphere crashed to the marble floor of the Musee des Arts et Metiers.

In 1851, Foucault used the pendulum to perform a sensational demonstration in the Paris Pantheon, proving to Napoleon III and the Parisian elite that the Earth revolved around its axis. Such was its success that the experiment was replicated throughout Europe.

Foucault's pendulum is sent crashing to Earth

Photo by Kongharald / Creative Commons Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.



  1. Well, there goes the plot of Dan Brown’s next novel. OR WAS THE CRASH PART OF THE CONSPIRACY?!?!?!?

    1. >Well, there goes the plot of Dan Brown’s next novel. OR WAS THE CRASH PART OF THE CONSPIRACY?!?!?!?

      The cable was cut by villain in the story, a guy with hypertrichosis who practices a lost form of pre proto Siberian shamanism.

  2. So what exactly is the “accident” that caused this? The article makes mention of some partygoer swinging it last year. But nothing about what happened now.

    “The circumstances surrounding the accident have raised eyebrows in France.” What accident? What happened? What are the circumstances? Why are eyebrows raised? It came crashing to the ground? Why? I NEED MORE INFORMATION!!!!

  3. Don’t you see the REAL problem??!!

    The problem isn’t that the cable snapped, oh no. The problem it is that the earth has stopped rotating! This has set the sun circling the earth and proved all the flat earthers right in the first place.

  4. Police are looking for an Englishman named Isaac Newton, who they believe may have more information about the mysterious forces that caused the pendulum to come crashing to the ground.

  5. Brass orbs are such impossible to repair. Especially when the only desirable function is dead weight.

  6. Wudda they mean, “irreparable?” Did it somehow become massless? I mean, if it’s got a dent in the side now, so what? If it has mass, it’ll still work as a pendulum, right?

  7. The copy in San Francisco at the CA Academy of Sciences, I believe the ball weighs over 200 lbs..

  8. Metal fatigue is a very real problem.
    No one mentions it , and then…bang!
    Metal fatigue strikes, and the consequences are tragic.
    Remember: Beware metal fatigue!

  9. Well if it’s too damaged to display anymore, I hope they bury it with a nice precession.

      1. If they’re not evenly distributed, won’t they be making the earth wobble?

        1. You have to take into account the uneven weight distribution of the Earth crust with oceans, mountains and land masses.

  10. The pendulum has been replaced by a copy, as the original is actualy being repaired.

    I try to search in the french news about the cause of this accident but beside the partygoer that mention Suburbancowboy, there is nothing.

    1. From translation:
      “It is wonderful that pupils are interested in Focaults pendulum. But there are both great irritation and leads to extra work for us when that happens, says the material manages Dag Magnus Loose. Nor is not the first time this happens.

      – It has been the case earlier too. Kula loose due to the pupils go into the wire hanging in. The result is that it harbors the floor.

      – Is it possible to prevent this happening again?

      – We must now try to find out. As often as it happens now, it should certainly not happen, says Loose.

      He also encourages teachers and other adult persons who are pupils to fit better that they do not touch the installations that they come here to look at.

      – I think it is a pity that Focaults pendulum can not be stand alone.”

      Ok now, this is funny!

  11. I’d love to see what sort of damage was done to a solid brass sphere causing it to be “irreparable”. Were they talking about the sphere or the floor it landed on?

    No pictures of the damaged sphere in either the blog post or the article linked within? Boo! Mark, you’re better than this.

  12. Just sent a heads up to the Museum of Science And Industry
    in Chicago (I hope in time)

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