Ever wonder how Clayton Kershaw’s nasty curveball just drops off the table?
Or have you seen a soccer player bend a shot for an improbable goal and wonder how the hell that that just happen?
Well there’s a force that causes slices and hooks in golf as well as the ball moving in tennis and ping pong. While it’s sometimes hard to see just how much the ball moves, this astounding video by Veritasium shows just how much this incredible force can change the direction of a ball.
Are you ready for science to mindfuck you?
Derek Muller visited the enormous Gordon Dam in Tazmania to drop balls and some science on you. He lets go of the ball and despite some crosswinds, the ball falls nearly directly below him. For the science experiment, he then dropped the same basketball, but this time he spun the ball. And the ball soars away, almost floating on the air. This phenomenon is called the Magnus effect, named after Gustav Magnus, the German physicist who investigated it.
The spin pushes the air away, which actually produces enough lift that it almost defies gravity.
Even BB guns can take advantage of the Magnus effect to increase range. By adjusting the Hop-up, a device that puts back-spin put on Airsoft pellets and BBs, the ammo will travel farther because it will rise instead and it will do this without increasing the velocity or power.
The Magnus effect can even propel boats. The Buckau utilized airflow in it’s first voyage in February 1925, where it traveled across the North Sea from the semi-autonomous city-state of Danzig to Scotland. The rotors allowed the vessel to sail into the wind as it powered the ship instead of pushing it away.
Here’s a more modern application of the Magnus effect with these amazing RC planes.
The Magnus effect can even give the gift of flight to paint rollers.
I have such a raging science boner right now.