Tightrope WalkersScience brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.
Tightrope walkers frequently carry a long pole to help them balance. Why does this help?
AnswerA tightrope walker remains standing by keeping his center of mass directly above the rope. If his center of mass moves off center, he must correct this or he will rotate off the rope and fall down. By carrying a long pole, the performer is increasing his rotational inertia. This means that he will rotate slower and therefore have more time to make a correction to his center of mass. The balancing poles are frequently droopy and weighted at the tips. This lowers the center of mass of the performer, which also makes it easier to balance.
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