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Data analysis and experiments - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Oct. 15th, 2006

05:12 pm - Data analysis and experiments

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Date:October 16th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Ok, following up on this I did a Google search for Galileo "same size" "different mass", and found this discussion. The basic gist seems to be that he did try the experiment of dropping two balls off the Tower of Pisa (or possibly out of the university building) which were the same size, and they both landed at the same time. However, the heavier one ought to land first, and so the misunderstanding was due to insufficiently accurate measurements, and the relatively low height of the tower - if you dropped two bowling balls out of an aeroplane (one hollow, one solid), there should be a measurable difference in landing time. His result is still significant, because Aristotle had previously claimed that an object with ten times the mass would fall ten times as quickly, so the difference is far less than expected.

Disclaimer: this is all second hand information, from a site where people are arguing the results, so I could be wrong about it.

Conclusion: we ought to test this ourselves - anyone fancy lobbing water balloons off a tall building? :)
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