Galileo’s inclined plane

What you can do here
Put the ball in the upper position on the inclined plane, release it and watch it roll down. Notice the time intervals between the specific sections which gradually get longer and longer.


How it works
A ball which rolls down a plane and is attracted by gravity accelerates, in other words it gains more and more speed. Thus, despite the sections getting longer, it takes the same time to cover them. The lengths of the subsequent sections are in the ratio described by the sequential odd numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7, … The second section is three times the length of the first one. The third one is five times the length of the first one and so on.


Interesting facts
Galileo was the first to investigate this phenomenon in about 1600. His biggest problem was precise time measurement. In order to perform it, he weighed water flowing from a container on subsequent sections of the path. The experiment that you have just conducted is on the list of 10 most wonderful experiments in the world.