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Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt by Paul J. Nahin

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Gravity Inside the Earth

The acceleration of gravity on the Earth’s surface is greater at the poles than it is at the equator. Why?

— Question on a freshman physics exam

12.1 Newton’s Experiment

Most people, when faced with the above opening question, almost immediately think of the Earth’s rotation, probably because of the common familiarity just about everybody has (by age five) with the tendency of a merry-go-round to toss a rider off when it spins. For the Earth, this “tendency” appears as an acceleration component opposite to that of Earth’s gravity. My wife, who has never had a physics course in her life—she was an art history major in ...

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