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Da Vinci Code: Foucault’s Pendulum

What is Foucault’s Pendulum

The Foucault pendulum, named after French physicist Léon Foucault, was an instrument that was conceived to demonstrate the natural rotation of the earth. The pendulum is free to oscillate along any vertical plane, while running continuously uninhibited by friction (ideally a motor should be utilized to factiliate this). The physics behind it dictate that the direction in which the pendulum swings will rotate along with the earth’s rotation.

Foucault’s first demonstration of the pendulum took place in 1851 at the Pantheon in Paris, when he suspended a 28-kilogram bob with a 67 meter-wide wire from the dome. Although the theory of the earth’s rotation was well known at the time, the experiment demonstrated its veracity in a manner that could be easily comprehended.

Fictional References

In addition to the physical structure of the pendulum, Italian author Umberto Eco also wrote a novel entitled Foucault’s Pendulum, which un-coincidentally figured as a form of indirect inspiration for Dan Brown’s novel.

The book also treats the theme of conspiracy and codes, and it even addresses the plausibility of the Holy Bloodline and the Knights Templar, though this is all done in a satirical manner to demonstrate the futility of such theories.

The story centers around Belbo, Dioatavelli and Casaubon, three friends working for a publisher in Milan, who decide to invent a satirical conspiracy game after reading too many of such theories at work. However, as they get further into their “Plan,” the lines between fiction and reality become increasingly blurred, and what’s worse, followers of conspiracy theories take their “game” seriously, believing Belbo to be the true keeper of the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.

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