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Pisa Cake

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1249882.  Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:27 am Reply with quote

What is the most unintentionally leaning building in the world?

It's not the famous leaning tower, but in fact the far more unglamourous Suurhusen church steeple in Germany, which, after villagers drained the swampy ground beneath it, swung dramatically to have a tilt a full 1.22 degrees more than that of the Leaning Tower.

The leaning tower has a far more interesting history though. Construction was halted by wars and took 199 years. The tower had begun to tilt after only 2 floors were constructed. The tower initially leaned North, before a break in construction. When construction resumed, the addition of floors changed the centre of gravity and caused it to change the direction of its lean to South.

Mussolini thought that the lean was a shame on Italy. He enlisted builders to rectify it by pumping the ground full of cement, which ultimately only caused it to lean over far more dramatically.

Pisa is also the supposed location for one of the most famous experiments in physics. Galileo, professor there from 1589-1592 in an attempt to show that all objects fell at the same rate regardless of mass, supposedly dropped a cannonball and a musketball from the tower.

However, this account only appears in the biography of Vincenzo Viviani. Most scientists believe it was only a thought experiment. However, it may not even have been that, as a study of Galileo's writing at the time shows that he initially believed that only objects of the same density would fall at the same rate.

Either way, the answer is moot as the experiment had actually been performed a few years beforehand anyway, in 1586, by two sadly mostly unrecognised Dutch scientists, Simon Stevin and Jan Cornets de Groot, who dropped two lead balls of different masses from the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft in an attempt to disprove Aristotelian thought.

1249895.  Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:46 am Reply with quote

I heard somewhere that the Americans in WW2 came within a minute or two of shelling it into gravel to clear some Germans from the top.

1249925.  Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:42 am Reply with quote

GeorgeB wrote:
two sadly mostly unrecognised Dutch scientists, Simon Stevin and Jan Cornets de Groot

The word internationally is missing. Simon Stevin most definitely has schools, town squares, streets etc named after him in Cloggieland.
Jan Cornets de Groot is less known.


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