Scientist Risks His Life to Settle a Bizarre Physics Debate
Can any wind-powered vehicle go directly downwind faster than the wind itself?
Derek Muller's YouTube channel Veritasium has many science and engineering videos featuring experiments, expert interviews, and cool demos; however, this latest video might be his best yet.
The video's premise centers around a physics question and Muller says it all started with a brain teaser: "Can any wind-powered vehicle go directly downwind faster than the wind itself?"
Your brain probably started going haywire while thinking the answer, and the counterintuitive idea that 'something moving faster than the thing that is pushing it' has been discussed for years, from internet forums to college classrooms, sparking arguments and fits of rage among physicists.
Rick Cavallaro, an aerodynamicist, avid kitesurfer, and paraglider, and his friends built a wind-powered vehicle to test out this physics debate. And Muller says "what its creators claim it can do is so counterintuitive that it seems to violate the law of conservation of energy." So naturally, as any YouTuber would do, he decided to take a stab at driving the vehicle himself and see if it really works. Curious? Enjoy!