A spinning coin explained

When you spin a coin on its side, it slowly loses energy and starts wobbling around. As the flat surface of the coin comes closer to the table, the spinning increases in frequency. In other words, it spins faster as it’s about to stop.

The reason this happens is called a finite-time singularity. It’s like bouncing a really elastic ball. If no energy was lost, the ball would bounce at a constant frequency forever. But since energy is being lost, the ball’s maximum height decreases while its bouncing frequency increases.

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Video transcript available here: http://ow.ly/mEkoz
Teacher’s notes available here: http://ow.ly/mE1Xf
More information on our Helix@CSIRO blog: http://ow.ly/mEkts

Music by Kevin McLeod (http://incompetech.com) Mirage


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