Important Notice:

I am switching from DynDNS (which did away with their free DNS services last year) to a different free DNS service since DynDNS just raised their prices. The new DNS name for the Fun Physics Facts public wiki as well as the M4M private wiki is: instead of the old

(I am in the process of switching from one operating system to another, and thus this wiki switches back-and-forth occasionally. I will attempt to keep this wiki up and running as much of the time as I can during this transition. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.)

Fun Physics Facts for the Family

These web pages provide supplementary materials for the Fun Physics Facts for the Family (FPF) demonstrations at the Journey Museum. The demonstrations provide the conceptual foundations, these web pages (and especially the PDF excerpts from "Math for the Motivated") provide the theoretical and mathematical details. Links to YouTube videos illustrating the physics concepts are also provided.

  • In the first demonstration (Feb 15, 2011) we examined the principle of Conservation of Angular Momentum, and showed how a body will spin in the same orientation unless some external force is applied. Here is a link to the wiki page for this demonstration: FPF-01 Astronaut: Turn Around? .
  • In the second demonstration (Mar 15, 2011) we studied the gyroscope, the embodiment of angular momentum, and discussed a simple Newton's Law explanation (here is a link to the wiki page discussing Newton's Laws: FPF Newton's Laws ) for its intriguing behaviors, such as precessional motion. Here is a link to the wiki page for this demonstration: FPF-02 Mystical, Mythical, Magical Gyroscope .
  • In the third demonstration (Apr 12, 2011) we continued the examination of the properties of gyroscopes and show how a very clever trick can be employed to produce a compass that always points to the true North direction and always works at all locations and in all vessels. Here is a link to the wiki page for this demonstration: FPF-03 The Most Marvelous Mechanical Machine .
  • In the fourth demonstration (May 10, 2011) we yet again continue the study of the magical behaviors of the gyroscope, only this time since we now understand the mechanism underlying these mystical behaviors we endeavor to dispel some of the mythical behaviors attributed to gyroscopes. In particular, a famous British engineer by the name of Eric Laithwaite claimed antigravity capabilities for gyroscopes leading to a plethora of similar claims, and we will debunk these claims. Here is a link to the wiki page for this demonstration: FPF-04 Anti-Antigravity: Eric Laithwaite .

Fun Physics Facts for the Family <-- click this link to go to the Fun Physics Facts for the Family page. This page contains a discussion of this month's talk.

FPF Topics (proposed) <-- click this link to view a few of the proposed topics for future demonstrations for the Fun Physics Facts for the Family series.

Puzzlers <-- click this link to go to the Puzzlers page. These are problems to test your resolve, all the way from Manhole Covers to Buried Treasure to Squaring the Circle, and, of course, the Ultimate Puzzler chestnut: Coconuts.

PDF-Passwords <-- click this link to go to the PDF-Passwords page that contains various passwords to unlock the PDF files.

Thanks <-- click this link to go to the Thanks page. These are the individuals and businesses to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for their help.

News <-- click this link to go to the News page.

Note: In this Wiki the circumflex symbol (^) is employed to denote exponentiation, that is, raising a variable or number to a power.


  • Underlined items are links; click on these to navigate through these web pages.
  • Links to YouTube videos illustrating the physics concepts demonstrated in the FPF talks are also provided. (Whenever you see a stroboscopic photograph, there is an YouTube video link nearby.)
  • Excerpts from "Math for the Motivated" are included as PDF files. Click on the Download button (down arrow) to download these PDFs that you may then view in whatever PDF viewer you use. (You may set your Web Browser's Preferences to view PDFs in new Tabs or you may download the PDFs and view them with a separate viewer, such as the Adobe Reader.)
  • So that I can talk about puzzlers and the like during my demonstrations, the PDF files giving solutions are password protected. After I talk about a given topic or puzzler, I change the PDF file to one having a ..._pw04.pdf extension. These PDFs all have the same password, the pw04 password. This password is "isaac1newton", without the quotation marks. When you download a PDF file you will be asked for this password in order to view the PDF file. Click this link to go to the page containing the PDF passwords: PDF-Passwords .
  • The images on these web pages are highly compressed JPEG images and thus they are somewhat noisy. I employ highly compressed JPEGs in order to keep their file sizes small so that they load more quickly in your web browser. The PDF files that are included contain higher resolution and cleaner versions of these images.
  • Any photograph that appears out-of-focus or multiply-exposed is in fact a stroboscopic photograph of a moving object. For instance, on the Most Marvelous Mechanical Machine page, you will see a photograph that appears to be a multiple exposure of a baseball bat. This is a stroboscopic photograph of a baseball bat swinging in front of a piece of black felt cloth which gives texture to the image of the bat. In any case, I use these stroboscopic photographs to advertise my Fun Physics Facts videos -- these videos give short demonstrates of the physics concepts that I demonstrate during the lectures. So wherever you see a stoboscopic photograph on a webpage, there is a link to a FPF video nearby.
  • Click on one of the Tags (top of the page) to see all web pages on the FPF Wiki website containing that Tag.
  • If you have a question or wish to make a comment, at the bottom of each page is a "+ Add a new comment" link where you may record your comments for that page. Please include your e-mail address in your comments so that I may respond to you. [Note: Your comments will not be shown to the general visitor, only I can read your comments.]

Copyright (c) 2010-2017 Craig G. Shaefer, all rights reserved.