The rattleback--it's been intriguing us since prehistoric times. Seeming to defy the laws of physics, it spins in one direction, "rattles" to a stop, and then changes direction, as Neil deGrasse Tyson demonstrates above. How does the rattleback work? To get into that, watch this technical video from William Case, a professor at Grinnell College. Or review the resources on this web page. In either case, you will need to wear your thinking cap.
If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.