He Rented a Helicopter to Settle a Physics Question

A question used for the 2014 US Physics Olympiad team qualifying exam managed to stick around because it was so intriguing. If you hang a flexible but consistent rope underneath a moving helicopter, which of the above shapes would that rope take? I figured that would depend on other factors, but let’s assume they are not carrying a piano or a rhino. Derek Muller of Veritasium decided to find out once and for all, so he hired a helicopter and a pilot to do the experiment. Think about how you would answer the question, maybe even write it down, and then watch the video.

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It’s pretty neat that he also tracked down the origin of the question and interviewed the guy who came up with it. Don’t be concerned with the length of the video; the basic question is answered in about four minutes, but then they add some confounding factors that you’ll find quite interesting. The last minute is an ad. -via Digg

Source: neatorama

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