Alphabetarion # The gyroscope | Paul Morand


Albert H. Munsell hue circle, with indicative positions of the RGB primaries and secondaries, 1905

“Speed kills colour… the gyroscope, when turning at full speed, shows up gray.”

 Paul Morand


The gyroscope (from Greek γῦρος gûros, “circle” and σκοπέω skopéō, “to look”) is a spinning wheel or disc in which the axis of rotation is free to assume any orientation.

The first known apparatus similar to a gyroscope (the “Whirling Speculum” or “Serson’s Speculum”) was invented by John Serson in 1743. It was used as a level, to locate
the horizon in foggy or misty conditions.

Léon Foucault in 1852, used the “Machine” in an experiment involving the rotation of the Earth. Foucault who gave the device its modern name, in an experiment to see
(Greek skopeein, to see) the Earth’s rotation (Greek gyros, circle or rotation), which was visible in the 8 to 10 minutes before friction slowed the spinning rotor.

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