Neil deGrasse Tyson Demonstrates the Physics-Defying Rattleback

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.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.