Plumb line and the shape of the earth

Pirooz Mohazzabi, Mark C. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The equation for plumb line deviation currently presented in textbooks ignores the effect of earth's flattening on the direction of true gravitational acceleration and is incorrect by nearly a factor of 2. The correct equation is consistent with the shape and dimensions of the earth with a very high degree of accuracy. The simple treatment of the problem uses Newton's second law in an inertial reference system and is suitable for introductory physics courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1038-1041
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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