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The programme looks at the motion of a pendulum and lunar phases in the earth-moor system in order to illustrate that only by looking at things from a viewpoint different from one's everyday, restr...icted framework, can one understand some scientific phenomena.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: S101, Science: a foundation course
Item code: S101; 01
First transmission date: 20-02-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:13
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Producer: John Stratford
Contributors: Keith Hodgkinson; Mike Pentz
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Pendulums
Subject terms: Astronomy; Foucault's pendulum; Science
Footage description: Film of a pendulum which appears to swing in an odd way. Camera moves back and reveals the the pendulum is swinging on a moving playground roundabout. Mike Pentz introduces the programme. Pentz goes on to discuss the mental leap which had to be made by early astronomers in order to make sense of the motion of the stars and planets. Time lapse shots of a sunrise, of phases of the moon, and of the earth from space as he talks. Using a globe with a pendulum suspended over the North Pole, Keith Hodgkinson demonstrates some of the earth's rotation which ought to be detectable by a long pendulum swinging on earth and which would provide proof of this rotation. Portrait of Leon Foucault and still shots of his pendulum experiment in the Paris Pantheon in 1851. Mike Pentz, at St. Paul's, London, demonstrates Foucault's experiment inside the cathedral. He explains the principles behind the experiment and lists some of the problems of carrying it out. Still shots of various phases of the moon. Keith Hodgkinson reveals that these were not photographs of the moon but of a model in the studio illuminated by spotlight. The model moon is viewed from a camera mounted inside a model earth. He points out that only by looking from outside the earth - moon system it is really obvious that the moon does not change shape during its different phases. Hodgkinson points out one of the obvious deficiencies of the studio model - that it throws the moon into total eclipse once every month which does in fact not happen in the real system. He adjusts the mode by changing the plane of the moon's orbit relative to the sun and this eliminates the monthly lunar eclipse. An animation then illustrates how lunar eclipses do occur. Hodgkinson uses another model, this time of the Earth and Mars orbiting the sun in order to demonstrate how the peculiar wandering motion of the planet as seen from earth against the night sky can be explained in terms of orbits about the sun. Hodgkinson sums up the programme.
Master spool number: 6HT/72905
Production number: FOUS001T
Videofinder number: 1176
Available to public: no