Watch the World Turn


I was sittin’ around thinking about how neat gyroscopes are and realized that I had no idea who even invented the gyroscope. So, I went on a fun trip into the internet and found out it was a French Experimental Physicists named Leon Foucault (Foo-Koh). This guy was a fucking BAMF. This gentleman had some sweet, sweet dexterity. So, his ma pushed him to become a surgeon. He studied under Alfred François Donné, another very accomplished human, bacteriologist and doctor. Things were looking good until Foucault realized blood freaked him out. Not great for a surgeon.

He redirected his attention to photography experimentation with his buddy Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau, another physicist. They worked on discovering how to measure the speed of light. They did work out that light travels slower through water than air. And, Foucault discovered how to accurately measure the velocity of light.

He ended up dropping out of Collége Stanislas and became Donné’s assistant. Under Donné, he discovered how to take photos through the lens of a microscope. This guy can’t stop!

In 1951, Foucault sent out an invitation stating, “You are invited to see the Earth turn.” He had created a pendulum that clearly and simply demonstrated the rotation of the Earth. Such pendulums are still hanging around (pun intended) and impressing us today.

Then in 1955, that sumabeetch discovered Foucault currents (AKA eddy Currents) on copper disks when applying a changing magnetic field. He was also rewarded the Copley Medal that year for being a bad ass physicist that keeps inventing shit! He created a way to view (safely) and photograph the sun, a method to determine if a telescope’s lens is perfectly spherical, the Glan-Foucault Prism, a bunch of cool features for telescopes and of course the gyroscope. I don’t think any of these inventions are in proper chronological order. So, sorry about that.

Not only did I learn what Foucault did, but I learned the other scientist that were discovering and inventing along side him. I’m gonna go read about them now!