The Flying Circus of Physics is a book about curious events and effects of the everyday world. This site is an extension of the book.
Spotlight story for this month: Click on the title down below here
Secondary stories for this month: Click on "News/Updates" in menu at the left
Archived stories and links (hundreds): 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book: A-C, D-K, L-Q, R-S, T-Z
Store (books, tee shirts, mug): click on "Store" in the menu at the left
New --- Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site: new videos from me every month. The first in the series: the Cheerios effect. Plus old television videos and many photos. Here is the link. Come for a visit, and consider signing up as a fan of the site.
Jay Waller stories: Physics for
Citations (over 11,000) and links (over 2000) for items in the book (pdf files):
Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3, Chap 4, Chap 5, Chap 6, Chap 7
A random sample from the book appears at lower right each time you come to this site.
---- Jearl Walker
ps. If the biplane at the top of the page doesn't have sound and motion, download the free flash player from Adobe.com.
Flying Circus of Physics Spotlight
A draining bathtub will develop a vortex over the drain, which can be amusing. In some settings, however, much larger vortexes can be developed over drains, with far more energy. In fact, in 1990 a bathtub-like vortex almost emptied an entire lake into an underlying salt mine, pulling down large barges and tall trees as if the entire surroundings were disappearing into a netherworld.
Flying Circus of Physics Sample
Woodpeckers and concussion
A woodpecker hammers its beak into the limb of a tree to search for insects to eat, to create storage space, or to audibly advertise for a mate. During the impact, the rate at which the head slows is about 1000 g’s (1000 times gravitational acceleration). Such a deceleration rate would be fatal to a human or at best severely damage the brain and leave the person with a concussion. Why then doesn’t a woodpecker fall from a tree either dead or unconscious every time it slams its beak into the tree? MORE
© 2013 Jearl Walker. All Rights Reserved