On September 6, 2013 in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, Kurt Steiner achieved the Guinness World Record for “the most consecutive skips of a stone on water” when his skipping stone touched the water 88 times. Yes, eighty-eight.
What’s behind the science of stone skipping? From Discover in 2003:
The key to a good skip, [physicist Lydéric] Bocquet says, lies in spinning the stone. On the water, a stone’s spin keeps it poised on its trailing edge, rather than somersaulting. In the air, spin provides stability, as with a Frisbee. If the thrower gets the stone off to a bad start, spin can bring it into better position before it hits the water.
Bocquet has developed a formula for estimating how many times a stone will skip based on spin and speed. He calculates, for instance, that for a stone to skip five times it has to spin five times per second; to skip 15 times (Bocquet’s personal record), it has to spin almost nine times per second…
According to Guinness, Steiner takes great care in selecting his stones:
He has collected more than 10,000 “quality rocks” and has sorted each according to its type, to prepare for the best possible throw. He looks for stones “that weigh between 3 – 8 ounces… that are very smooth (they don’t have to be perfectly round), flat bottoms and are between 1/4 – 5/16th of an inch thick.
Get some good stones, give it some practice, and let us know what your personal stone skipping record is.
Watch this next: Joe Ayoob Sets the Paper Airplane World Record.
via Boing Boing.