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Galileo's Paradox
The Physics Teacher
  • Tom Greenslade, Kenyon College
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The paradox is a wonderful teaching tool. The sleepy student in the back row is surprised and wakes up, and the student with the instantly memorized answer is forced into the analytical mode. The diagram in Fig. 1 has the following paradox: A body sliding freely down a chord from the edge of the circle reaches the lowest point on the circle at the same time as a body released simultaneously from the top. This result was first mentioned in a 1602 letter from Galileo Galilei to Guidobaldo dal Monte.1
Citation Information
“Galileo’s Paradox”, The Physics Teacher, 46, 294 (2008)