Science and Technology

Project “Rede Pêndulo Mundial” reaches a school in Sao Tome and Principe

Técnico plays a key role in this project, namely in what concerns faculty training in the fields of Physics and Mathematics.

Since September 2017, EPSTP-CELP has a world pendulum that will allow to determine the acceleration of gravity in the equatorial line. This project results from a partnership between Instituto Superior Técnico, Direção-Geral de Administração Escolar (DGAE), Escolas Portuguesas no Estrangeiro (DSEEPE) and Centro de Formação Profissional da Indústria Metalúrgica e Metalomecânica (CENFIM). “The project is developed within e-lab, the remote laboratory of the Department of Physics, and resulted from the need of having some high precision pendulums placed worldwide”, highlights professor Horácio Fernandes, the projector coordinator and professor at Técnico.

The project “Rede Pêndulo Mundial” aims to determine the “gravitational constant” in the several locations, through pendulums at different altitudes, operated remotely by anyone through the internet. The e-lab at Técnico organised “training sessions for Physics and Mathematics teachers of basic and higher education”, explained the project coordinator. This project allows to demystify absolute certainties regarding the homogeneity of stability, showing that “the weight of things depends on latitude”, clarifies professor Horácio Fernandes.

On the other hand, “pendulums are systems with enormous learning potential in both Physics and Mathematics. People find the task of controlling a remote experience thousands of quilometres away very challenging”, reiterates the project coordinator. The outcomes of this project will be important not only in the field of education, but also in other fields such as aerospace industry: a rocket launched from Sao Tome and Principe can carry more 4 tons into space than a rocket launched from a latitude such as Lisbon.