How do cats right themselves without over rotating? Or, as Destin, an engineer and the filmmaker behind the Smarter Every Day video series, rephrases the question: "How does a cat go from feet up to feet down in a falling reference frame without violating the conservation of angular momentum."
So as simple of a question as this is, it turns out to be a MAJOR POINT OF STUDY in Physics, Robotics, Space Satellite Control, Weapons Development, Biomedical Engineering, etc. It's stumped scientists and engineers since Newton's day....If you don't believe me that this involves some serious math... click here: http://count.ucsc.edu/~rmont/papers/cat.PDF
Destin assures us that no cats were harmed in the making of this video.
Leslie is the online editor at Workboat.com and NationalFisherman.com. She has a background in oceanography and is passionate about getting non-scientists and young people to realize how cool science can be. She is also Science Friday's former web editor.
The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.
Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life