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Physics

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55,000 Plank Physics Simulation

55,000 Plank Physics Simulation

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.

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves

Animator Eoin Duffy and Amber L. Stuver of TED Ed explain how the gravity of every object affects every other object in the cosmos, and the technology that researchers use to detect and track these waves so they can better understand our universe.

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See-through Gun Suppressors

See-through Gun Suppressors

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.

Fluidizing Sand

Fluidizing Sand

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.

Quantum Levitation Möbius Strip

Quantum Levitation Möbius Strip

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.

Hydrodynamic Levitation

Hydrodynamic Levitation

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.

Solids of Constant Width

Solids of Constant Width

These oddly shaped objects have a truly unusual property – despite not being spherical, they’re always the exact same diameter no matter how they’re positioned, so they roll smoothly. This set of three 35mm solids is machined from solid aluminum.

On “Free Energy” Devices

On “Free Energy” Devices

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.

Controlling Mercury with Magnets

Controlling Mercury with Magnets

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.

Quantum Mechanics in 5 Minutes

Quantum Mechanics in 5 Minutes

(PG-13: Language) exurb1a does his best to explain quantum entaglement, quantum superposition, the quantum zeno effect, and other elusive theoretical concepts in the only way he knows how – with ducks.

Earthquake Damper Demo

Earthquake Damper Demo

Engineering firm Teratec uses a shake table to demonstrate how hydraulic dampers can be used to offset forces on a structure, reducing the likelihood of the sort of resonant frequency disasters which can happen from earthquakes, wind, or other vibrations.

Walk vs. Run When It’s Cold

Walk vs. Run When It’s Cold

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.

7 Amazing Optical Illusions

7 Amazing Optical Illusions

Quirkology shares a handful of visual illusions sure to mess with your brain. We understand how most of them work, but the color changing ring in the mirror is still a totally nifty trick.

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Multi Magnetic Levitation

Multi Magnetic Levitation

Magnetic Games demonstrates a neat effect that happens when placing tiny magnets between larger magnets and a surface made from pyrolytic graphite, a material which is weakly repelled by them. Think that spinning bit is cool? Check out more maglev magic here.

Glowing Pendulum

Glowing Pendulum

Make Anything rigged up a double pendulum with a lighted tip, then spun it over a photoluminescent surface. The result is a cool demo of how chaos quickly takes over from order thanks to those pesky laws of physics. No need to watch the entire video to get the point.

Mag Lev Quadcopter

Mag Lev Quadcopter

What happens if you spin an array of super strong electromagnets at crazy speeds over a sheet of copper? Veritasium checks out a magnetic levitation device being developed to help understand how to build Elon Musk’s much talked about Hyperloop transportation system.

Gallium vs. Aluminum

Gallium vs. Aluminum

Over the years, YouTuber NurdRage has demonstrated how pouring liquid gallium onto aluminum can cause catastrophic failure of the normally durable, lightweight metal. Watch as the stuff causes a heat sink, sheet metal, and even a baseball bat lose its strength.

Fun with Static Electricity

Fun with Static Electricity

Phenonmena and illusion demonstrator Brusspup shows off nine fun and fascinating science experiments you can easily do yourself. Each one uses static electricity to work its magic, so you can expect to get a few shocks along the way as you practice.

Bullet vs Prince Rupert’s Drop

Bullet vs Prince Rupert’s Drop

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.

Escalator Squeeze

Escalator Squeeze

Animade and Russ Etheridge present a fun animated physics study of what would happen if you just crammed a pair of escalators with way more people than they can handle. A follow-up to their earlier clip, Train Squeeze.

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Vsauce: Spinning

Vsauce: Spinning

Our favorite wordy educator provides numerous examples to hammer in the physics of spinning to help us understand its strange consequences. Leave it to Michael to not go off on a tangent when talking about tangents.

String Shooter Physics

String Shooter Physics

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.

Shifted Lever Machine

Shifted Lever Machine

While there’s no such thing as an actual perpetual motion machine (pesky physics!), this is still a cool demonstration how an off-balance mechanism can run for a relatively long period of time with minimal energy input.

Magnets in Slow-Mo

Magnets in Slow-Mo

TaoFledermaus was playing around with some small magnets and decided to see what their movements would look like when captured at 4,000 fps with a prototype Chronos 1.4 camera. The resulting video reveals some of their strange and wonderful behaviors.

DIY Fire Tornado

DIY Fire Tornado

TheBackyardScientist shares a simple way to create a small fire tornado with no moving parts. The trick is to split the glass receptacle in half and place each half around the flame slightly off center. The wind that comes in through the gaps will create the tornado effect.

The Walking Water Mystery

The Walking Water Mystery

Destin of SmarterEveryDay has long wondered why water droplets sometimes bounce or slide off of a body of water instead of immediately coalescing with it. He consulted astronaut and chemical engineer Don Pettit and got two answers: air and vibration.

Feeling the Forces of a Fighter Jet

Feeling the Forces of a Fighter Jet

The 560th Flying Training Squadron invited SmarterEveryDay for a test flight in the trusty Northrop T-38 Talon, a supersonic trainer jet used by the US Air Force and NASA. It gives us a thrilling glimpse of just how hard it is to handle such powerful birds.

Paper Bridge Holds 1,071 Pounds

Paper Bridge Holds 1,071 Pounds

This footage may be 8 years old, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive. Watch as then high school student Anna Gu demonstrates a bridge she made from layered and glued sheets of paper that was so strong that the hook that held the weights failed before it did. Design here.

Physics of Computer Chips

Physics of Computer Chips

Computerphile sat down with nano-scientist Phil Moriarty who explains just how tiny the wires and transistors of semiconductors are these days, and how we’re approaching a point in physics where we’re going to have to build computers very differently.

Pendulum Balance Robot

Pendulum Balance Robot

If you thought that machine that could balance itself on a single point was cool, check out Andreas Eder and Tobias Glück’s robot, which can swing three pivoting sections upright and keep them balanced. It can’t hold on indefinitely, but we’d like to see you do better.

Self-Balancing Stick

Self-Balancing Stick

Mike Rouleau shows off a neat bit of tech – a device which stands on a needle-like tip, but keeps itself balanced by constantly adjusting the direction and speed of motors. As one commenter put it: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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