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
For the common rearview and side-view mirrors on a vehicle, another vehicle passing on either the left or right sides can briefly disappear from view. If the second vehicle is traveling at the same speed as the leading vehicle, it can be continuously out of sight. Obviously either situation is dangerous, especially if the leading vehicle changes lanes. Here are some solutions and a dramatic video.
Flying Circus of Physics Sample
Wintergreen glow in the closet
You and a friend first adapt your eyes to darkness for about 15 minutes in a closet or outside on a moonless night. Then have your friend chew a wintergreen Life Saver candy (a candy in the shape of a marine life saver and infused with the oil of wintergreen) with the mouth as open as possible so that you can see inside. Why does each bite initially produce a faint flash of blue light, and why do later bites fail to produce the light? (If you don’t want to eat the candy, squeeze it with a pair of pliers until it fractures.) Why does tonic water have a faint blue tint? MORE
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