This is Foucault’s Pendulum. It lives in what was a chapel and is now part of the Musee des Arts et Metier. It seems as if it’s moving as it keeps time throughout the day. The pendulum moves around the circle and knocks down the pegs that symbolize the quarter hours.
Here’s the real deal: the pendulum isn’t moving, the earth is moving, the pendulum is just hanging there. It’s mind-boggling. Henri’s mum explained it as we stood there watching the pendulum. It was totally counter-intuitive. I was watching it move, but it wasn’t really moving at all. It’s as mysterious as the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California. Gives me goosie-bumps.
We were there because one of Grams’ favorite books is “Foucault’s Pendulum,” by Umberto Eco. She loaned it to me, I loaned it to Meg (Henri’s mum). So, you get the picture. The book opens in this room and the dénouement is also here. It’s a horrific scene involving the Knights Templar and all kinds of other mystical and wicked folk. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a fantastic read.
What I like best about the Arts et Metier is the eclecticism of it. Everything that logic and science has created since the Renaissance is housed there. The grand and the humble. The very “French” thing about it is that this ode to science is housed in a former church. As a matter of fact, Foucault’s Pendulum is hanging from the dome of the chapel. In order for the pendulum to work, it must hang from a dome with a particular orientation. Don’t ask me to explain that, I don’t understand it. All I know is that it works and I love the Arts et Metiers.
A la prochaine. Moochas smoochas,
Today is Martin Luther King jr. day. We have the opportunity today to honor a true American hero and make his cause our own. "The death of any man diminishes me."
Please give what you can to Medecins sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders).
*Translation: a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Proving that just because something is in Latin doesn’t make it profound. The quote is from Chuckles the Clown and if you don’t know he was, more’s the pity. Confession: I stole the picture from Henri’s mum’s blog, https://montisci.typepad.com