Rotating saddle trap as Foucault's pendulum

Oleg Kirillov, Mark Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


One of the many surprising results found in the mechanics of rotating systems is the stabilization of a particle in a rapidly rotating planar saddle potential. Besides the counterintuitive stabilization, an unexpected precessional motion is observed. In this note, we show that this precession is due to a Coriolis-like force caused by the rotation of the potential. To our knowledge, this is the first example where such a force arises in an inertial reference frame. We also propose a simple mechanical demonstration of this effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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