A scientific debate between the creator of Veritasium, a YouTube science channel, and a university physics professor about the results of tests carried out on one of the channel’s videos ended in a bet of $ 10,000. According to the agreement, whoever manages to demonstrate their arguments would win the money.
The dispute started when Derek Muller He showed in an episode of his channel that it is possible to travel in a wind vehicle downwind at a speed greater than that of the wind. However, Alexander Kusenko, a professor at the University of California, denied that this was possible, arguing that this proposition goes against the laws of physics.
During the signing of the document that made the bet official, and which had as witnesses the renowned scientists Neil deGrasseTyson and Bill Nye, Kusenko explained that it is impossible to travel in a straight line in a sustained manner at a speed greater than that of the wind. According to his calculations, this phenomenon could only occur momentarily if a gust of wind gave an extra ‘push’ to the vehicle; however, it would only last until the vehicle lost that inertia.
New Video!!! This was a really hard one to post– it’s not often you get to fail @veritasium not once, not twice, but three times before you finally succeed. But! The engineering process is an iterative one and I learned a helluva lot. Check it out!!https://t.co/LsQbNcF1s8pic.twitter.com/6re6PrQlvq
— Xyla Foxlin⚡ (@XylaFoxlin) June 30, 2021
In order to try his statement, the presenter received the help of another ‘youtuber’, Xyla Foxlin, to build a scale model similar to a Blackbird, the car used during the episode, which would be tested on a treadmill that simulated the push of the air. As they had predicted, the replica picked up speed with each attempt.
Likewise, the analysis of the images of the tests carried out during the episode showed that the vehicle registered a constant acceleration while traveling in a straight line. According to Muller, this is possible thanks to the unique design of the Blackbird, since its propeller is not driven by wind energy, but by the movement of the wheels, which, through a system of gears, make it rotate in the opposite direction. to which the wind moves them, managing to create thrust by blowing air backwards.
More data…@alexkusenko how can the car accelerate after it’s going faster than the wind? Your analysis said this was impossible. pic.twitter.com/QEm2u42Oih
— Derek Muller (@veritasium) June 22, 2021
The arguments and evidence presented by the creator of Veritasium convinced the university professor that it is possible, under certain technical circumstances, to travel faster than the wind in a wind vehicle. “Professor Kusenko has now awarded the bet, and has transferred $ 10,000 to me. I want to thank him for being a man of honor and changing his mind in light of the evidence presented,” commented the winner.
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