Laws of Physics and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

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The tower of Pisa is a monumental and architectural wonder of the world. It is the bell tower for the cathedral and took about 200 years to build. It is, as everybody should know, on a slant. The slant itself is actually about 4 degrees and this is forcing the top of the tower over its edge by just under 4 metres. The likelihood of the tower falling over by 2026 is very slim because architects are always coming up with ways to correct the slant.

Before 1173 a woman left 60 coins to buy some stone for the foundation of the tower. In 1173 the construction of the tower started, but after only 5 years the tower was already on a slant due to unstable sub soil. Construction was halted for a century because of war but when it started again the builders made one wall taller than the other, this in turn led to the tower curving instead of leaning. When construction finally finished in 1372 there was also a bell tower added on top. Currently the tower stands at 55.8 metres, is comprised of 8 stories, weighs 14,700 tonnes and has 296 steps to the bell tower. In 1990 the tower was closed to the public. It is still closed to this day as it is that thought of a whole bus load of tourists might tip the tower over, this would result in lives being lost and the tower being destroyed.

The laws of motion can help us to understand why the tower might collapse or stay standing. If nothing is done to the tower from this day onwards it will surely topple, because if a gust of wind blows the tower slightly, the reaction would push the tower forwards, and as soon as it starts swinging inertia will come into play and that’s the end of that tower. But if we continue to correct the tower it probably won’t topple. Some of the corrections are as follows: a ring of concrete has been made and placed on the base of the tower, then lead counter weights have been placed on the ring to balance out the tower, this worked, but it didn’t look very pretty. Then...
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