A garden gnome has been sent on a round the world trip as part of a scientific experiment to show how gravity changes near to the equator.
Kern the gnome, who has been sent off with a set of super-accurate scales of the same name, has visited scientists across America, Asia, Australia and Europe to demonstrate how an object’s weight varies around the planet.
British scientist James Nester, who helped conceive the Gnome Experiment, said: “Most people don’t realise the strength of the Earth’s gravitational pull differs around the globe.
“This is mainly due to variations in the shape and density of the planet. Believe it or not, the Earth is actually slightly potato-shaped so you’ll actually weigh up to 0.5 per cent more or less, depending on where you go.”
So far Kern has weighed more in London than anywhere else in the world, except the South Pole, at 308.66g. In Mumbai he was lightest, weighing just 307.62g, followed closely by Mexico City where the bearded model was 307.56g.
Wherever he is sent, researchers receiving Kern are warned: “Although made from special chip-proof resin, he is an instrument of science, so please handle with utmost care.”
In Antarctica’s Amundsen-Scott Research Station he weighed 309.82g, showing that areas near the poles are subject to stronger gravity due to being closer to the Earth’s core.
Next on Kern’s tour are Cern’s Large Hadron Collider near Gevneva, Switzerland and Snolab, Canada, which at 2km underground is the world’s deepest laboratory.