ScienceAlert

The golden ratio spinning top37s

The golden ratio spinning top

This is the φ (phi) top. It's made of solid brass in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ. Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave mirror keeps the top from wandering off and the glass surface has minimal friction allowing the top to spin for a long time- this video shows various stages of 8 minutes of total spin time.

Crazy experiment shows what a magnetic field looks like37s

Crazy experiment shows what a magnetic field looks like

This is a perfect and simple visual representation of a magnetic field. Iron filings are suspended in oil, and you can see them gracefully line up along the magnetic field lines when the ferromagnet is dropped into the setup, revealing a clear dipole configuration.

Watch as this crazy spinning top starts levitating23s

Watch as this crazy spinning top starts levitating

The Levitron: spin stabilized magnetic levitation- will fly for about 3 minutes or more per launch. The spin rate of the magnetic top must be just right for flight, not too fast or too slow. Also the weight of the top must be adjusted to within 1 gram to achieve equilibrium between the pull of gravity and the magnetic repulsion from the large donut shaped magnet in the wood base. Probably my favorite physics toy of all time. Find out more: http://physicstoys.blogspot.com/p/physics-toy-store.html

Physics Fun: Balance Pteranodon16s

Physics Fun: Balance Pteranodon

Weights in the forward wing tips create a center of mass below this pterosaur's beak- making a system that can rotate and oscillate about a stable equilibrium condition. No magnets used or needed for this physics! Usually this toy is found in the form of a bird (direct dinosaur descendant). Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, but are the largest animals to ever fly, and powered flight has only evolved four times: bats, birds, pterosaurs, and insects- in reverse order. Follow @PhysicsFun for more.

The Strange Physics of the φ Top37s

The Strange Physics of the φ Top

This unique top is made of solid brass in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave mirror keeps the top from wandering off and the glass surface has minimal friction allowing the top to spin for a long time- this video shows various stages of 8 minutes of total spin time. Follow @PhysicsFun for more.

Tiny Drone47s

Tiny Drone

Scientists have invented a tiny flying robot that can perch to save energy.

Flaming Crater41s

Flaming Crater

For more than 40 years, this natural gas crater in Turkmenistan has been constantly burning - and scientists aren't really sure why.

Lunar Globe54s

Lunar Globe

This topographically accurate 'lunar globe' is the coolest way to explore the Moon.