Part of how CGI has gotten so much better in recent years is the development of systems for specific types of physical realism. Here Soeren Pirk demonstrates an amazing system designed for simulating the motion of tree branches, and the way wood burns when set on fire.
With the help of his fans around the globe, Destin Sandlin digs into a surprisingly deep and perplexing topic – measuring the steady state velocity of toppling dominoes. The slow-motion footage is fascinating to watch, and you’ll definitely feel smarter after this one.
It’s not too hard to travel faster than sound, but amping things up to the speed of light is a whole other level. Life Noggin pontificates on the what might happen if we could exceed 186,000 miles per second. The whole slowing down light thing seems like a cheat though.
As much fun as carnival games look, they’re designed to steal your dollars, and not to award you that giant stuffed bear. Engineer Mark Rober is here to explore the math and physics behind carny scams, which are the biggest rip-offs, and a few ways to improve your chances.
Digital physics engines are fun. You can make all kinds of things happen in the virtual world that would be difficult to achieve in the real world. Take, for example, this stack of 55,000 Jenga-like planks which Xepher let his system render over the course of 12 days.
Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day teamed up with the folks at Soteria Suppressors to create special gun silencers wrapped in transparent cast acrylic, then captured amazing slow-mo footage of them in action using a high-speed camera at a whopping 110,000 fps.
Kyle Hill from Nerdist recently posted a brief clip that shows the crazy stuff that happens when you inject compressed air into a bed filled with sand. We spotted this 2012 video from The Royal Institution that shows much more, and provides an explanation of the physics at work.
Students from the Ithaca College Low Temperature Physics Lab created a neat version of a quantum levitation track. It still uses supercooling and magnets to work its magic, but adds a fun (and literal) twist to by running its course around a triple-twist Möbius Strip.
Veritasium takes a look at a neat physical property – the ability to levitate a lightweight ball or disc atop a jet of water. The trick involves getting the water to flow along one side, runs up and over the object, creating a state of equilibrium which allows it to spin.
ElectroBOOM’s Mehdi Sadaghdar expresses his disdain for “perpetual motion” devices which are claimed to produce more energy than is put into them, thus defying the basic laws of physics. The only thing these guys seem to be able to actually generate are YouTube views.
Beyond its liquid properties, the other cool thing about mercury is that it’s magnetic. Roobert33 shows how electromagnets can be used to change the direction that mercury flows in. It would be cool to build an Escher-style fountain that flows uphill with this method.
Fortunately, it’s starting to gradually warm up in most of the Northern Hemisphere, but when it is cold out, you just want to get somewhere warm as quickly as possible. Minute Physics ponders whether or not it’s better to proceed slowly when you’re freezing your butt off.
SmarterEveryDay looks at the behavior of the unusually strong Prince Rupert’s drop when subjected to the firepower of a bullet. The 150,000 fps slow-mo footage reveals some truly fascinating properties as shockwaves travel through these tadpole-shaped glass droplets.
A mystifying physics demonstration from science teacher Bruce Yeany, in which he shows off a simple device known as a “string shooter.” It uses a motor drive to fling a loop of string into the air and keep it there thanks to their light weight and the inertia that keeps it moving forward.
In The Awesomer Shop