Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 15, 2009

The motion of pendulums has been studied by students of physics for centuries. As a result, this kind of motion is really well understood. So much so that it's considered to be very predictable, and there are even simple online computer simulations based upon the fairly simple math that it takes to describe the mechanical motion of a pendulum operating under a constant gravity.

But what happens when you take a simple pendulum and add a couple of others? Then set the whole thing spinning?

What you get is chaos, or rather, really unique motions that arise from the complex interactions of otherwise very simple mechanics.

But don't take our word for it. As with all things these days, there's a YouTube video to demonstrate this principle in action! Just *try* to predict which way the whole pendulum, or its individual arms, are going to move next:

Again, pendulum motion is something that people have understood pretty well for centuries. And yet, add just a couple of additional pendulums to a simple system and the motion you get is highly unpredictable.

There's a lesson here somewhere....

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