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Ship collisions
Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A large ship colliding with a smaller ship gives a simple lesson in torques.

Extreme and rogue waves
Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Rogue waves are rare waves that are extremely high and extremely deep. Their formation is not well understand and thus they cannot be predicted. They are dangerous because they can break apart huge ships.

Pub trick --- opening a beer bottle without a bottle opener
Tuesday, April 01, 2014

How can you open a bottle of beer or soda without the use of a normal bottle opener. Over the years thirsty people have figured out lots of ways.

Flying Circus of Physics projects for a class 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013

Flying Circus Projects for education majors

If you teach a class in the K-12 levels or for education majors at the college level, you might think about assigning projects based on the Flying Circus of Physics materials. For example, Dr. Richard Barrans (Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wyoming) challenged his Physics 1090 class (physical science for elementary education majors) to develop Flying Circus of Physics projects. Here is a link to where the projects are posted. 

Can you hide your shadow?
Thursday, August 01, 2013

Can you hide your shadow by placing something on it (other than yourself, of course)? Children sometimes try but we adults know that this is impossible. Or is it?

Death by bunk bed
Thursday, August 01, 2013

From a forensic science journal, here is the curious case of a man killed by a bunk bed.

Updates on video links for archived and book stories
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Here are some of the video links that I have added recently, either to the archived stories here at this FCP site or to the pdf files for the stories in the FCP book. Latest ---  A dead snake can still bite you. Bungee-cord jump that goes very bad. Smoke rings blown by Mount Etna. Sake (yes, sake) domino stunt. Water drainage surge through a manhole lifts and bounces a car. Static discharges in ash from volcano in Chile. Video of tornado hitting a parking lot. Trick shots with a basketball. Trick shots with a football. Using physics to get drugs across the Mexico-Arizona border. Can you balance a basketabll on the rim of the metal ring of the basket? Can you jet into the air with pressurized water jets strapped to your back?  Video inside what appears to be a tornado. Fire vortex. Basketball shot made from an amusement park ride. Close-up video of tornado. Janathan Trappe crosses the English Channel while strapped to a cluster of balloons. Amazing new trick basketball shots (and the video is real). Video shot by tornado chasers as the tornado passed over them. Meteor lights up the sky. Another video of "pedestrian throw" (but he is not seriously hurt). A blindfolded teacher manages to throw the basketball through the hoop in spite of being blindfolded, ruining the prank the students intended to play on him. The most amazing Rube Goldberg machine ever made, just stunning. Footage of a tornado ripping through structures. An old audio of me on "Quirks and Quarks" radio show with Jay Ingram. new lunar rainbow photo. World record car jump. Speed record for a steam car (yes, a steam car). Crane falls over, splitting a house in two. Meteor lights up the sky. Floor-to-ceiling storage of beer suddenly finds its center of mass beyond its support area. My student undergoing the final exam (a bed of nails). Stacking stones, one above the other, in an impressive display of balance. Most fantastic basketball shot ever. World record motorcycle jump. Human cannonball misses the net. Millions of bats fly into and out of a Texas cave without a single collision. A tightrope walker sets a new record by walking up a cable car wire. An airplane develops a hole in the fuselage, but no one is sucked out. Robbie Maddison makes a motorcycle jump over the Thames River. Record tight-rope walking. News report about teenager who was struck by lightning and survived. Lightning strikes to Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. Huge, thick waterspot. Video of skydiver who survives a fall from 6000 feet in spite of opening his parachute too late. Surfer in monster barrel roll, shot in super slow motion.

Article of the month, from Jan, 1984
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The spectra of streetlights illuminate basic principles of quantum mechanics.

Facebook, videos, translations
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flying Circus of Physics at Facebook.
The Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, and Korean translations, with more translations to come.
How to look inside the book for free.
How to send stuff to me.
Audio version of the book for the blind and physically handicapped.
Reviews of the book.

Newspaper articles discussing stories in The Flying Circus of Physics
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There have been many newspaper articles discussing the stories in The Flying Circus of Physics book. Here are links to the ones that can be viewed for free.

Beds-of-nails demonstrations
Thursday, January 01, 2009

Stories and photos about what has happened to me since I introduced the bed of nails demonstrations to physics education and lured countless teachers into hurting themselves in front their students. New photo added on Feb 17, 2009

My Amateur Scientist articles in German
Sunday, June 15, 2008

German translations of some of the Amateur Scientist articles that I wrote for Scientific American are now available on the web.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I read through many good books that teach me a lot but some certain ones resonant with the spirit of The Flying Circus of Physics. Here, every now and then, I’ll post a description of one of these books that appeal to me on a personal level. To find more reviews and descriptions about them at, click on the Store button in the menu at the left and find the book image. Clicking on the image will take you to the description of the book at If you, instead, click on the “Buy” button, you put the book into a shopping cart.

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