It turns out that a long chain of metal beads behaves in an unexpected way — it seems to levitate and loop up — as it starts to fall out of the cup that it starts in. It’s a phenomenon called Newton’s Beads, and the BBC’s Steve Mould demonstrates it here with a string of 8,000 beads and some slow motion provided by the team at Earth Unplugged.
Beyond being both fascinating to watch and an easy DIY experiment, it’s also possible to figure out what’s happening by analyzing the video using physics. For more, check out science writer Aatish Bhatia’s calculations on what’s going on in Steve’s demonstration.
Update: Here’s an equally fascinating follow-up at Nature.com. — Physicists explain ‘gravity-defying’ chain trick.
via Empirical Zeal.