Stone Skipping Physics


The current record for stone-skipping is about 88 skips. For most of us, that’s an unimaginably high number, but according to physicists, human throwers may top out around 300 or 350 skips. In the video above and the accompanying article, Wired reporter Robbie Gonzalez explores both the technique of a world-record-holding skip and the physics that enable it.

The perfect skip requires many ingredients: a large, flat rock with good edges; a strong throw to spin the rock and hold it steady at the right angle of attack; and a good first contact with the right entry angle and force to set up the skips’ trajectory. The video is long, but it’s well worth a full watch. It gives you an inside look both at a master skipper and at the experts of skipping science. (Video and image credit: Wired; see also: Splash Lab, C. Clanet et al.; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

ETA: Wired’s embed code is acting up, so if you can’t see the stone skipping video here, just go to the article directly.

Heads up for those going to the APS DFD meeting! You can catch my talk Monday, Nov. 19th at 5:10PM in Room B206. I’ll be talking about how to use narrative devices to tell scientific stories. I’ll be around for the whole meeting, so feel free to come say hi!

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