As some of you may know, The Magnus Effect is a law of physics that describes how a spinning ball diverts from its principle to flight path. It was named (shockingly!) after one Heinrich Gustav Magnus, a German physicist.
Earlier this week, Veritasium, a YouTube channel specialising in science and technology, released a video describing this phenomenon. Since then it has racked up nearly 11,000,000 hits and been covered by IFL Science.
However, it is worth pointing out that the original footage was captured by How Ridiculous, another YouTube channel devoted to sports and sporting shenanigans; these guys had the humble aim of smashing the world record for the highest basketball shot, which they duly broke.
With the persistent cliché that the internet is the home of cat videos and celebrity gossip, it is heartening to see so many taking an interest in the principles and applications of a hard science. Then again, someone could attempt a combination of all three: gaffa tape a cat to a basketball and aim for an A-lister’s head… Still, we at The Arcade would never condone that!
What do you make of the videos? Do you think YouTube and new media generally has a role to play in the imparting of scientific literacy? Do you think the success of the video is encouraging or symptomatic of an underlying problem? Let us know in the comments!