The “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi is the only institution from Iasi and among the very few from the entire world which has a Foucault pendulum.
The pendulum, which has been placed in the atrium of the A wing belonging to the Civil Engineering and Installations Faculty, has been inaugurated on the 16th of November, during the Days of the University. Professor doctor Ion Giurma, the Rector of the Technical University of Iasi, professor doctor Daniel Condurache, the vice-rector responsible with the computerization activity, Associate Prof. Ph.D. Irina Lungu, vice-rector of International Affairs and Academic Public Relations, professor doctor engineer Mihai Budescu, the Dean of the Civil Engineering and Installations Faculty and professor doctor engineer Jan Ignat, the Installations Engineering Department Manager and lecturer doctor Sorin Theodoru from the Civil Engineering and Installations Faculty.
We Are At The Centre of The World, Aren`t We?
The Rector of the University opened the event with a speech and later on, PH.D Prof. Daniel Condurache gave a lecture explaining “what is the mystery” of the Foucault experiment. The vice-rector mentioned that the importance of the pendulum is to be found in the long social history of human thought. Everything started from the question “We are at the centre of the universe, aren`t we?” and from Giordano Bruno`s immolation since he supported the idea of the Earth going round the Sun.
“The pendulum is an extremely interest experiment which shows us that we are not alone in the universe and that the Earth goes round its own axis and we do not have to look at the sky or inspect the Universe in order to prove it, “the professor underlined. Moreover, he explained to the students from the Technical University as well as to the entire audience that the “Foucault motions are universal motions”, since each of the 24 satellites on GPS which ensure the mobile telephone communication represent a Foucault pendulum in connection with the Earth.
The Rector, prof. dr Ion Giurma also added that “Inside each reinforced concrete tall building, of over one hundred meters height, there is an inertial pendulum, which is meant to measure structural offset. These values are used to determine structural stress, in other words, the building inclination angle.”
The Candy on top of the Building
At present, the pendulum from the A Wing belonging to the Civil Engineering and Installations Faculty is manually activated but prof. dr. eng. Mihai Budescu revealed the fact that it is in the intention of the managers of the Faculty to create both a mechanism to activate it automatically and a graphic description meant to offer the coordinates of the pendulum trajectory. Professor Doctor engineer Jan Ignat, the Installations Engineering Department Manager declared that the Foucault Pendulum is “the candy missing from the cake represented by this building” and he asked the students to respect this accomplishment.
Jean Bernard Léon Foucault is the first one who presented in front of the audience the experiment proving that the Earth rotates around its axis. The experiment was presented in 1851 at the Pantheon in Paris. It has represented the main attraction of the Pantheon nowadays as well.
There are several Foucault Pendulums in the world, mainly in universities, science museums and planetariums. One of the most famous is to be found in Manhattan, in the headquarter of the United Nations.
The way the Foucault pendulum functions is demonstrated in different movies on YouTube.