@physicsfun 2022-08-07 21:52:47
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Maxwell’s Dynamical Top: one of my favorite demonstrations of the strange properties of rotating bodies- shown here with a 1/2 scale but exacting replica of the famous “Dynamical Top” created and demonstrated by the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1857. When this brass bell shaped top is spinning an interesting stability can occur- push on the pointed stem and the top will push back, forcing the stem against that object, and friction will cause the stem to roll along and trace the edge of the object. Note- magnets are NOT involved here. The key to this design is to make the contact point/tip of the top at its own center of mass, then any frictional force in contact with the stem will produce a torque about the contact point at a right angle to the direction of friction that creates the stabilizing force (students of physics may recognize application of the right hand rule here). This beautiful historical replica is now available from machinist and creator Jim Peever - and as far as I know the only other replicas of this device where made in the 1880’s ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this scientific replica top and many other amazing items featured here on

@physicsfun at 2022-08-07 21:52:47

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