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The Flying Circus of Physics is a book about curious events and effects of the everyday world. This site is an extension of the book.

Spotlight story for this month: Click on the title down below here
Secondary stories for this month: Click on "News/Updates" in menu at the left
Archived stories and links (hundreds): 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book, not only individual terms but also collections, such as "Pub physics" and "Accidents" and "Stunts": A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J-K, L, M-OP-QR, S, T-Z

My school (Cleveland State University) and I have started a new video series. Here is a link to the CSU YouTube channel where the first video has been posted. New videos will appear about once a month. If you want to subscribe to the channel so that you know when a new video has been posted, use the subscribe button.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChrOvC-DFkPNxKIxe-XKD3g 

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Newsletter Emailed every three months (I am the only one that can see your email address. Indeed, I am the only one that can access anything here.) Sign up in the menu at the left.
Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site (public site): my old television videos and many photos. Here is the link. Come for a visit, and consider signing up as a fan of the site.
Jay Waller stories: Physics for
Citations (over 11,000) and links (over 2000) for items in the book (pdf files):
       Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3, Chap 4, Chap 5, Chap 6, Chap 7

----  Jearl Walker
ps. If the biplane at the top of the page doesn't have sound and motion, download the free flash player from Adobe.com.

Flying Circus of Physics SpotlightFlying Circus of Physics Spotlight

Tesla coils
Friday, May 01, 2015

Tesla coils are hugely popular and now can be seen in large shows with a thousand spectators. They produce electric fields that are large to ionize air molecules over 10 meters or more, thus setting up dramatic electric discharges. Here of some of my favorite videos displaying tesla coils, some with performers intercepting the discharges.  

Flying Circus of Physics SampleFlying Circus of Physics Sample

Woodpeckers and concussion

A woodpecker hammers its beak into the limb of a tree to search for insects to eat, to create storage space, or to audibly advertise for a mate. During the impact, the rate at which the head slows is about 1000 g’s (1000 times gravitational acceleration). Such a deceleration rate would be fatal to a human or at best severely damage the brain and leave the person with a concussion. Why then doesn’t a woodpecker fall from a tree either dead or unconscious every time it slams its beak into the tree? MORE

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