Euclid's Muse

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Inverted Pendulum

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Phil Todd



An inverted pendulum is in unstable equilibrium..  left to itself, it will topple out of equilibrium.

However, if you apply a vibration with a suitably high frequency to the base of the pendulum, you can stabilize it.

Try it here.  ω is proportional to the frequency.  A value of 1 does not stabilize the pendulum.  What value does?

This is one of the 77 physical paradoxes in Mark Levi’s book Why Cats Land on their Feet.

Tags: pendulum, equilibrium
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