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Pendulum, Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science by Amir D. Aczel

I read this book and loved it! Easy read, not too long (245 pages), ties together scientific discovery with political history and biography of a very interesting thinker and inventor.
In 1853, before the upper crust of French society - including the emperor Napoleon III - a little known physicist named Leon Foucault staged a dramatic demonstration inside the Pantheon in Paris. He set in motion a seventy metre long pendulum that swung slowly across the interior of the large ceremonial hall, hanging from its high ceiling.
Foucault's famous experiment revolutionised the entire world of science, and of society itself. He had proved, beyond a doubt, that the earth does indeed rotate on its axis. In PENDULUM, renowned scientist and author Amir Aczel brings readers the first detailed non-fiction account of how this struggling physicist came to his remarkable breakthrough, as well as the opposition he faced - both before and after his demonstration - at the hands of the scientific community in France. Drawing a wonderfully vivid portrait of Napoleon III and Paris during the Second Empire, Aczel chronicles France's scientific glory during the 1850s, and evaluates how Foucault's theories and achievements are viewed in the current perspective of modern science.

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