Special Physics Seminar: Tuesday, February, 27th: Now you see it, now you don’t—the mysterious spinning cylinder

Event Date: 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 5:15pm

Event Date Details: 

Pizza will be served at the conclusion of the seminar.

Event Location: 

  • Broida 3302
  • Special Physics Seminar

If one spins a cylinder in just the right way, a type of motion is produced that gives rise to a truly remarkable phenomenon that comes across to most students as almost magical.  This motion is perhaps the simplest rigid-body motion in which the angular velocity and angular momentum point in different directions.  In this talk, we will examine this interesting system from a first-principles approach to determine exactly how this “magic” comes about.  Our journey will require that we grapple with the inertia tensor, rotation matrices, and Euler angles, but in a manner that is both straightforward and enlightening.  In the end, we will uncover some interesting physics and see that a simple cylinder has much more depth to it than first meets the eye.

David Jackson, Dickinson College