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Why Newton’s bucket cannot account for Earth’s rotation

Abstract : This note illustrates, at an undergraduate level, how an a priori legitimate assumption of uniform gravity can lead to intuitively satisfying but false results. Considering the simple situation of a liquid contained in a bowl at rest with respect to the ground at the North Pole, we look for the shape of its surface, taking Earth’s rotation into account. The classical problem of a rotating fluid is converted to that of the determination of Earth’s shape.
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Contributor : Alexandre Watzky <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 5:19:07 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 26, 2020 - 3:37:56 PM

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Alexandre Watzky. Why Newton’s bucket cannot account for Earth’s rotation. European Journal of Physics, European Physical Society, 2018, 39 (1), ⟨10.1088/1361-6404/aa8bab⟩. ⟨hal-01659126⟩

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