Tautochrone Problem

Let a marble roll down a curved slope. In a tautochrone (curve of equal descent), the marble reaches the bottom in the same amount of time no matter where it starts. In a brachistochrone (curve of fastest descent), the marble reaches the bottom in the fastest time. Jakob Bernoulli solved the tautochrone problem in a paper marking the first usage (1690) of an integral. The cycloid is the solution to both problems. His brother Johann posed the brachistochrone problem in 1696. Newton, Leibniz, L'Hôpital, and Jakob Bernoulli sent in solutions.
Huygens found that the end of a pendulum bounded by cycloids traces another cycloid. Mathematically, this gives a perfect pendulum. Realistically, friction causes this pendulum to be worse than an ordinary pendulum whose end traces a circular arc.



  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.

Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-Step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2018 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+