The Pisa experiment
Try Galileo’s ground-breaking gravity test for yourself!
01 WATER BALLOONS
Fill two water balloons up but make sure that they differ in mass – the point of the experiment is to test the time of descent in relation to weight.
02 FIND HIGH GROUND
Galileo climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa because he needed height for his experiment. The second floor of a modern building should work but make sure that no one is standing underneath the window!
03 HEADS up!
While you ready yourself to drop the water balloons from the window, someone else needs to be on the ground – out of the splash zone and harm’s way – to observe the results.
04 COMPARE your RESULTS
Record the results to see if they hit the ground at the same time, just like in Galileo’s experiment. Try repeating the experiment with some heavier and lighter water balloons so that you can compare the outcomes. Disclaimer: Neither Future Publishing nor its employees can accept liability for any adverse effects experienced after carrying out these projects. Always take care when handling potentially hazardous equipment or when working with electronics and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is likely that Galileo conducted his experiment between 1589 and 1592 as he was a professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa during this time. To achieve the height he needed for the experiment, Galileo climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. To test his theory, Galileo dropped cannonballs of various different sizes and materials off the tower. When he dropped two cannonballs of different masses, they hit the ground at the same time, proving his hypothesis.