Why build a Foucault pendulum?


The idea to build a Foucault pendulum on our school arose at a visit in Magdeburg in Germany. In an exhibition of famous scientific experiments, Jahrtausendturm,  among other things a Foucault pendulum was built.   

The pendulum at Carlsund from the beginning was aimed to be built within the frame of the syllabus for a special project course. The idea was that the different programs in the school should co-operate to build a Foucault pendulum.  The project was to be divided into different under-projects in a natural way. Unlike many projects this project would leave something lasting, that is, a pendulum. Carlsund is a school with possibility to learn about industry-, electronics, building and technical science.


This is the way it was aimed to be:


  • the industry programme  was going to make the suspension with all its details and the iron bob

  • the weld programme was going to make the fastening device where the bob is going to hang

  • the electronic programme was going to make the electronics that keeps the pendulum in motion by small impulses at suitable occasions.

  • the building programme was going to make the wooden disc below the pendulum

  • the technical science programme was going to have the responsibility for drawings and co-ordination of all the parts of the project


Unfortunately it was not possible to make a project within the frame of the project course, but the pendulum that today hangs at the entrance of Carlsund is constructed at the industry and electronic programmes. 

It took about a year to make a working electronics that adds some energy at each swing to make the pendulum keep on moving. With a working electronic the project could start in real, drawings with details could be constructed and thereafter the production could get started. 


The result of the project was a fantastic Foucault pendulum that works exactly in accordance with theory. I will recommend this experiment to everybody who has an opportunity to do something like this. It is the most fascinating experiment I have ever made. It is a work of art and at the same time a classical, conspicuous experiment.


Bo Göransson

Teacher in mathematics/physics

Bo Göransson