MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Why can't I get the money in front of me?

Date: Fri Oct 13 05:01:25 2000
Posted By: Jocelyn Wishart, Lecturer, Education, Loughborough University
Area of science: Physics
ID: 971200977.Ph

It's because your head is too heavy!

Any object will topple over if the vertical line through the centre of 
mass of the object does not also pass through its base. (The centre of 
mass used to be known as the centre of gravity and is the spot which acts 
as though the total mass of the object were at that point.)

In the actions you describe your centre of mass will start out in your 
chest as you stand against the wall but as you bend forward and lower your 
head it will move outwards and downwards. You become unstable and topple 
over easily.

Note, if you touch your toes you don't usually fall over - watch someone 
try it and see how their backside is pushed out as they bend over to 
maintain stability. However, the wall prevents you doing this in order to 
obtain the $1 bill.

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