String Tension in Pendulum and Circular Motions: Forgotten Contributions of Huygens in Today Teaching And Learning

  • Josip Slisko Facultad de Ciencias Físico Matemáticas Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla Puebla, México
  • Adrián Corona Cruz Facultad de Ciencias Físico Matemáticas Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla Puebla, México


Many authors suggest that is necessary to include the most important episodes from physics history in teaching and learning in order to give students some ideas about the nature of science. The pendulum-related aspects are considered as very adequate for that purpose. Unfortunately, when some physics textbook authors present historical information, it is frequently incomplete and even false. In the first part of this article, we present and comment important results of Huygens’ analysis of two problems related to pendular and circular motions. These results were published in his work about centrifugal force “De vi centrifuga”. In the second part, we consider the destiny and different treatments of his results in today physics teaching and learning, noting that Huygens’ contribution is never mentioned. These treatments go from (1) testing students (and teachers’) ideas about tension force in pendular motion to (2) mathematical derivation of Huygens’ results or posing his problems to students. Finally, we briefly suggest how original results might be used to give students an idea about development of mathematical tools in physics and to explore students’ creative experimental thinking.


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How to Cite
SLISKO, Josip; CRUZ, Adrián Corona. String Tension in Pendulum and Circular Motions: Forgotten Contributions of Huygens in Today Teaching And Learning. European Journal of Physics Education, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 4, p. 55-68, dec. 2020. ISSN 1309-7202. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 feb. 2023.