A laboratory scale Foucault pendulum for the measurement of frame-dragging

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


A Foucault pendulum is generally considered to swing in a fixed orientation relative to the inertial frame of the fixed stars. However according to general relativity there is a small but finite precession over time of the pendulum swing plane relative to the fixed stars due entirely to the frame-dragging effect predicted by general relativity. This form of frame-dragging is represented physically by the Lense-Thirring precession of a gyroscopic test mass due to the proximity and the rotation of a massive body to the test mass. This preces-sion may be calculated for various astrodynamic scenarios, but can also be modelled and calculated for a small test mass in the vicinity of the rotating planetary mass of the Earth. This manifestation of frame-dragging has already been measured in LEO by the GP-B and LAGEOS missions, but has not, to the authors’ knowledge, been measured terrestrially as yet. The work described in this paper is leading to an attempt to make this measurement, using a short, instrumented, Foucault pendulum in the northerly latitude of Glasgow in Scotland. The paper will summarise the work done to date to model the frame-dragging effect using the analogy of gravitoelectromagnetism, and then will focus on the design and build of the Foucault pendulum which will be used to attempt the measurement, and will end with a brief summary of the requirements of the measurement itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Nonlinear Dynamics, Volume I
Subtitle of host publicationICNDA 2023
EditorsW. Lacarbonara
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783031506314
ISBN (Print)9783031506307
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2024
EventThird International Nonlinear Dynamics Conference: NODYCON 2023 - Rome, Roma, Italy
Duration: 18 Jul 202322 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameNODYCON Conference Proceedings Series


ConferenceThird International Nonlinear Dynamics Conference
Internet address


  • Foucault pendulum
  • pendulum swing plane
  • frame dragging


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