YouTuber examines gömböc: a shape defying the laws of physics

A homogenous shape with two equilibrium points.
Loukia Papadopoulos

YouTuber The Action Lab often introduces new and exciting scientific concepts. You may remember this episode when he made a laser microscope using just a drop of water or this time when he made a black mirror.

Now, he is back with a clip on the gömböc. What is that and why does it sound like a Swedish meatball? To understand the gömböc, you must first understand equilibrium points.

Equilibrium points are those points on an object that allow it to balance itself when resting on a flat surface. These can be stable or unstable.

Take an egg for example. Its short sides are unstable as the egg rolls over if you place it on them. Its longer sides however are stable as the egg stands still when you place it on them. On the other hand, a cube has four stable equilibrium points.

In 1995, a mathematician called Vladimir Arnold proposed that there's no object that currently exists that has less than four equilibrium points. A gömböc is unique, however, because it has just one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium.

How does this object achieve this? Does it exist in nature? Who created it? Watch the video to find answers to all these questions.

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