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Explore Alliance Presents: How Do You KNOW? – Episode #6: 'Galileo Explores Gravity with Pendulums'

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Legend has it that a young Galileo observed the swinging of a censer (incense holder) in church one day and noted that the incense burners kept swinging in time with each other as long as the chains that held them were of the same length. Galileo constructed his own pendulums and continued to experiment with them for much of his life.

Like Galileo, we have much to learn from a swinging weight on the end of a length of string! For Galileo – and for us! – the pendulum is the key to understanding a property of nature that was misunderstood for more than two thousand years: why don’t heavy things fall faster than lighter ones?

Consider a baseball, and another similar ball made of steel, the steel ball outweighs the baseball many times, it requires far more force to lift the metal ball than the baseball. Gravity’s force is far greater on the metal ball, so why doesn’t the metal ball fall faster than the baseball? Dr. Barth's presentation swings in to action on this episode of  'How Do You KNOW?'