So, am I the only one who thought that that pendulum in last week’s episode of lost was the sexiest pendulum ever? I know, I know: it was totally beyond sexy, almost sick to the power of rad, right? Just in case you haven’t seen the episode yet (or would like to relive the epic arousal generated by the pendulum) here’s the trailer for Lost season 5, episode 6:
(also available: the episode recap over at io9)
In particular, this sexy pendulum was a specific type of super-sexy pendulum: a Foucault Pendulum, named after French physicist Léon Foucault. A Foucault Pendulum can demonstrate the rotation of the Earth, as our most holy and revered robot master Wikipedia can explain:
The experimental apparatus consists of a tall pendulum free to oscillate in any vertical plane. The direction along which the pendulum swings rotates with time because of Earth’s daily rotation. The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in February 1851 in the Meridian Room of the Paris Observatory. A few weeks later, Foucault made his most famous pendulum when he suspended a 28-kg bob with a 67-metre wire from the dome of the Panthéon in Paris. The plane of the pendulum’s swing rotated clockwise 11° per hour, making a full circle in 32.7 hours.
In 1851 it was well known that Earth rotated: observational evidence included Earth’s measured polar flattening and equatorial bulge. However, Foucault’s pendulum was the first dynamic proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment, and it created a sensation in the academic world and society at large.
Pendulum – Masochist
While the pendulum in The Lamp Post may appear to function in a similar manner to a normal Foucault Pendulum, one has to suspect that it delivers vastly different results, since it is tracking the mysterious island (I suppose that deserved a spoiler warning, but if you thought a giant pendulum inside a room full of 70s-era computers was goping to turn out to be for something else, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention). To be precise, it’s tracking where the island will be, not where it is. Trippy.