There are some science experiments that are staples in everyone's education because they so elegantly explain some of the few constants in the Universe. These experiments become so well known, however, that they may start to feel old hat and many people don't appreciate them anymore. Fortunately, there are scientists out there who see such beauty in the simplicity and dependability of these scientific principles, they are willing to do whatever it takes to make people take notice.
Norwegian physicist Andreas Wahl is so committed to big, jaw-dropping science experiments, he's putting his life on the line for them.
He garnered worldwide attention in 2015 for demonstrating that objects rotate faster as they near a central point by dropping from a beam attached to a rope. The other side of the rope held a weight weighed 1/14th of his body weight. As he dropped, the weight caused the rope to wind around the beam, stopping Wahl safely, so he didn't plummet to his death.
In his latest adventure, Wahl demonstrates the conservation of energy law, which states that energy in the Universe can neither be created nor destroyed.
This is typically done in science labs across the country using a plumb bob—or a bowling ball if the physics teacher is really cool—but Wahl ups the ante by using a 1-ton wrecking ball.
The wrecking ball is a pendulum, and the experiment begins with it pressed up against Wahl's body. As it is released, the potential energy held in the wrecking ball converts into kinetic energy, causing it to sail across the room. The exchange of kinetic to potential back to kinetic occurs on the other side of the swing, sending it right back at Wahl's face.
There are a number of ways it could go wrong. Wahl could lean forward compared to where he released the ball, that rickety-looking beam could give out, or something could have been miscalculated.
Check out the incredible video to see how Wahl fared:
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