The Magnus Effect is well understood and a key part of sport played with balls – from tennis to football to basketball – as you’ll see in the video, but good engineers are attempting to use the effect in applications such as flying and sailing.
A dam, a basketball and a few guys together make for a world record.
The team at How Ridiculous wanted to explain the sports effect in lay terms; therefore, they have filmed the experiment as they performed it at the Gordon Dam in Tasmania.
What happens when you drop a regulation Spalding basketball from a 415-foot-high dam? That’s how the spin of the ball and the air around it can cause movements that nearly look unreal.
The science behind the now viral video is called the Magnus effect, which was first described by physicist Gustav Magnus in 1852.
“Air on the other side of the ball will move opposite to the ball’s spin”.
The Magnus effect is a principle from physics, which presupposes that the ball revolves around itself forcing the air around it to head in the opposite direction and, thus, push the ball forward.
The Magnus effect can also help explain those unbelievable football kicks from David Beckham and the curveball, among other things. The scientific concept may also explain how ships sailed through rotating cylinders and early versions of aircrafts operated by rotating devices work.