Aug 012012

Or even worse, strawberry jam side down, on your nice cream carpet…

It does seem that this happens more often than not, and in fact it can feel like the world is against you. How can I be so unlucky? Well, fear not. The world is not picking on you, it is simply the laws of physics. No, wait, don’t stop reading, it is honestly quite simple.

Most toast that falls to the ground was either on a plate or a work surface before it fell. This is important because it is rare for toast to be dropped flat onto the floor. Usually there is an element of sliding in the fall, and this is quite important (honestly – stay with me!). When the toast starts to slide off the plate, gravity begins to pull it towards the floor. As the back end of the toast is still on the plate, the toast tilts before it falls. This tilt means that the toast starts to spin. Once the toast has started spinning it will carry on spinning for as long as it is falling. Most toast only has about a metre to fall before the ground (or nice cream carpet) gets in the way. Because of the size of most bread slices, there is only time for it to complete half a spin before the ground stops it. As you usually carry your toast butter side up, this means it is more likely to end up butter side down, as that is where half a spin will take it.

You could make this less likely to happen by cutting your toast into four smaller squares. If these fall off your plate they are small enough to complete a whole spin before hitting the ground, so they are more likely to land butter side up!

 Taken from Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?: A Book of Weird and Wonderful Science Facts

 August 1, 2012  Add comments

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