YouTuber Wins $10,000 Bet Against Physics Professor for Scientific Dilemma

YouTuber Wins $10,000 Bet Against Physics Professor for Scientific Dilemma
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Derek Muller, who is the creator of the YouTube channel Veritasium, placed a bet against a UCLA professor of physics Alexander Kusenko. The two guys argued over the mechanism behind a Blackbird, meaning an experimental wind-powered land yacht that is supposedly moving faster than the wind that propels it.

How could such a thing be possible? The stunningly supposed speed of the land yacht made the YouTuber and the professor bet against each other. Although Muller explained in a video how the speed is possible, Kusenko disagreed, and the bet was placed. The news comes from the Iflscience.com publication.

The official explanation doesn’t defy the laws of physics

Kusenko argued that the wind changes. While a strong gust of wind can push the vehicle to a higher speed, it calms it down a bit. Therefore, when the speed is measured against the wind, the vehicle will go faster but also decelerating. At the same time, the wind speed at the propeller’s height could be greater compared to the wind from the height at which it’s measured.

Muller’s response didn’t hesitate to come. The YouTuber said that data coming from tests have shown that the vehicle indeed moves faster than the wind. The propeller doesn’t work like a windmill, but more like a fan, as it pushes air backward. As the vehicle gains speed, the wheels are able to turn the propeller in such a way that the vehicle is pushed forward.

The friction slows down the vehicles, but even so, the push from the propeller is stronger, making the Blackbird move forward.

Muller said in a YouTube video, as cited by iflscience.com:

Professor Kusenko has now conceded the bet and he transferred $10,000 to me. I want to thank him for being a man of honor and changing his mind in light of the evidence presented.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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