SR-32-Huygens - and sizes of bodies In 1660s Huygens found...

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Christiaan Huygens, the Pendulum, and the Laws of Motion Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens (1629–95) was a leading figure in European science in the period between Descartes and Newton. • Built improved telescope (1655), first discerned Saturn’s rings (1658) • Devised very accurate pendulum clock (1656) • Chosen one of the first members of Académie Royale des Sciences (Paris, 1666) At age 16, Huygens noticed inconsistencies in Descartes’s laws of impact. By applying the principle of relative motion, he was able to derive a new and consistent set of laws of impact that would be valid for any combination of speeds
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Unformatted text preview: and sizes of bodies. In 1660s Huygens found ‘centrifugal force’ law : a body of mass m moving in a circle of radius R at speed v ‘seeks to flee the center’ with force F = m v 2 /R. By applying this law to a conical pendulum , Huygens found a simple and accurate way to measure the acceleration of gravity , simply by measuring the length of the string and the time of the swing. Although Huygens shared Descartes’s belief in the mechanical philosophy, he followed Galileo in formulating experimentally-based mathematical laws that skipped over the details of any underlying mechanism....
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