Synopses & Reviews
The pendulum is a unique physical system which exhibits remarkably varied and complex behavior under many different conditions. It is also a system which, in its many manifestations, has left a significant imprint on human thought and culture. Using graphs, figures, and narrative to explain scientific ideas and models, Gregory Baker gives a lucid account of the physics of the pendulum, showing the reader how the context of the pendulum progresses over four centuries from that of a simple system of classical physics, to that of a chaotic system, and eventually to that of a modern quantum system. He also describes its fascinating presence in cultural history, from its role in timekeeping and measurements of the earth to its importance as a literary symbol of doom.
Seven 'tales', detailing different important facets of the pendulum, show the exciting diversity of the science of the pendulum, and its untold significance in the history of human intellectual development.
"Seven Tales of the Pendulum would be a fine addition to the bookshelf of a teacher who wished to understand more about physics than he or she was required to teach and who wished to stimulate his or her students to investigate areas beyond the syllabus. Complex ideas are explained clearly by the author and the use of diagrams and photographs provides valuable support for these explanations." --Science and Education
About the Author
Gregory L. Baker
was born and educated in Toronto receiving his B.Sc. in mathematics and physics from the University of Toronto, and his M.Sc and Ph.D. in physics, also from the University of Toronto. He has taught physics and mathematics at Bryn Athyn College since 1970, retiring from fulltime involvement in 2007. His scholarly interests have included stochastic processes (as a consultant), chaotic dynamics, and the relationship between religion and science. He has authored or co-authored more than sixty publications, many of which have appeared in peer reviewed journals. His books include the best selling Chaotic Dynamics: an Introduction
, a technical/cultural book on the pendulum The Pendulum: a case study in physics
, and Religion and Science: from Swedenborg to chaotic dynamics
. Baker is a member of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, and is a recipient of the Glencairn award for scholarship at Bryn Athyn College.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
What is a Pendulum?
Part II: Seven Tales of the Pendulum
1. Pendulums measure the earth
2. Pendulums keep Time
3. Pendulums measure fundamental forces
4. Pendulums swing high
5. Pendulums go chaotic
6. Pendulums stick together
7. Pendulums in the small
Part III: Conclusion
Odds and the End
Glossary of Terms