The double pendulum: Hypnosis for physicists
Sometimes, when I'm not busy blogging or saving the world, I'll build things. So today my friend Jeff and I built a double pendulum. It's essentially a large pendulum, with a smaller one swinging beneath. Unlike a regular pendulum, which is fairly easy to quantify, the double pendulum is a chaotic system! Practically speaking, it means it looks crazy and amazing when you watch it swing. Jeff and I used instructions given in MAKE. It took about an hour or two (albeit with guidance by an enlightened expert handyman), and the awesomeness-of-project to time-spent-building ratio is extremely high. If you're so inclined, you can even make one yourself.
I'll probably give this one a wider base and make a few other improvements. (I'll post about those as they happen.) If I can, I'll also put up some video of the pendulum in action. In the meantime, content yourselves with these pictures of the pendulum in action!