The Fatal Physics of Falling Objects

The Fatal Physics of Falling Objects

This video is sponsored by Brilliant. You can get started for free, or the first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription. Check out Adam Savage’s video:

A massive thanks to Adam Savage and the whole Tested Crew – especially Kristen Lomasney, Ryan Kiser, and Joey Fameli. Thank you so much for coming out to the desert with us, and for inviting us to your cave! Check out the video we made with them on their channel –

Another huge thanks to iFly Ontario for letting us shoot in your amazing windtunnel. Special thanks to Diana Rios, Treasa Telle, Michelle Brumley for having us and Anthony and Torrell for being great instructors. iFly run STEM education trips, where you can experience terminal velocity first hand –

Thanks to Inland Empire Film Services and the San Bernardino County Film Office for portions of the video shot in the County of San Bernardino.

The raindrop video is from Alistair McClymont’s gorgeous artwork “Raindrop” – ​​

Video of the raindrop breaking apart is from the coolest paper i’ve read in a while – Villermaux, E., & Bossa, B. (2009). Single-drop fragmentation determines size distribution of raindrops. Nature physics, 5(9), 697-702. –

Altair. (2019). Digital Debunking: Could a Penny Dropped Off the Top of the Empire State Building Actually Kill You? –

Braeunig, R.A. Atmosphere Properties. –

The Guardian. (2014). Brutal winter weather brings new challenge: ice falling from skyscrapers –

NASA. (2018). The Apollo 15 Hammer-Feather Drop –

Red Bull Stratos –

Quealy, K., Sanger-KatzIn, M. (2015). In Other Countries, You’re as Likely to Be Killed by a Falling Object as by a Gun. New York Times. –

National Safety Council. (2022). Struck by Objects. –

Williams, A. (2019). What are your chances of being killed by hail in the US? –

NewScientist. (2021). Can bullets fired upwards cause injuries when they return to earth? –

Chambers, J. (2020). Meet the Flechette – the Deadliest Weapon of World War I? –

Wikipedia. Lazy Dog (bomb). –

Gläser, N., Kneubuehl, B. P., Zuber, S., Axmann, S., Ketterer, T., Thali, M. J., & Bolliger, S. A. (2011). Biomechanical examination of blunt trauma due to baseball bat blows to the head. Journal of Forensic Biomechanics, 2 –

Yoganandan, N., Pintar, F. A., SANCES JR, A. N. T. H. O. N. Y., Walsh, P. R., Ewing, C. L., Thomas, D. J., & Snyder, R. G. (1995). Biomechanics of skull fracture. Journal of neurotrauma, 12(4), 659-668.

New York Times. (2014). Falling Tape Measure Kills Man at Jersey City Construction Site – The New York Times –

IMDb. (2006). “MythBusters” Bullets Fired Up (TV Episode). –

Special thanks to: Elliot MIller, Louis Lebbos, RayJ Johnson, Brian Busbee, Jerome Barakos M.D., Amadeo Bee, TTST, Balkrishna Heroor, Chris LaClair, John H. Austin, Jr.,, Matthew Gonzalez, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Nathan Lanza, Diffbot, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Robert Blum, Sunil Nagaraj, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Petr Lebedev, Derek Muller, and Emily Zhang
Filmed by Derek Muller, Trenton Oliver, Petr Lebedev, Emily Zhang, Raquel Nuno and Eddie Lopez
Animation by Ivy Tello, Mike Radjabov, Fabio Albertelli, and Jakub Misiek
Edited by Trenton Oliver and Derek Muller
FPV Drone Pilots: Sammie Saing and Josh Ewalt
Slow Motion Camera: Shawn Sanders and Anthony Corrales
Helicopter Pilots: Rick Shuster and Cliff Fleming
Helicopter Safety Officer: Ryan Hosking
Production Assistants: Roman Bacvic and Eddie Lopez
Research Assistant: Katie Barnshaw
Additional video/photos supplied by Pond5 and Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang

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26 Responses

  1. Adam Savage’s Tested says:

    This was SO fun. Can’t wait to collaborate again!

    • Casey says:

      can you please revisit the HHO generator. only leave the carburetor on the car, put electrolyte in the cell, and power the – and + plates.
      you didn’t even try to make the generator work.
      it was the most upsetting thing to see.
      Used to look up to you.
      you can earn that respect back if you revisit that.

    • The COVID-19 Coronavirus says:

      Adam I wanna party with you

    • Joseph Wallace says:

      Glad you were involved. Mythbusters came to mind right away with the title.

    • Aleksandr B says:

      Youre like a super condenced positive energy. Happy to see you everytime, i hope the life gives you a lot of years in front, and that your life will have the same happiness as you bring to other people 🙂

    • Vickie Bligh says:

      Saw your part this morning, Adam & had to come here. Great collab.

  2. Verlisify says:

    A lot of people these days didn’t grow up with Mythbusters so I love the idea of revisiting the kinds of myths and rumors that were tested

  3. Lucas says:

    So happy you used skydiving as an exemple of air resistance. It’s such an integral part of what we need to account for when doing formations, based on different body types and formation speed.

  4. Raphael Kepinski says:

    It’s moving to see Adam in this. I grew up with Mythbusters and he hasn’t lost any of his verve and enthusiasm.

  5. Robert Rinaldi says:

    I’m only 2 minutes in and I’d already say that you gotta collaborate with Adam more. I love both of you guys and Adam is an absolute legend. This is giving me flashbacks to watching mythbusters after middleschool

  6. spetsdod1 says:

    I’m 52 years old and your enthusiasm for explanation and the way you explain subjects is overwhelmingly exciting to me. I hate math. I’ve never been good at it beyond very basic Algebra and Geometry/Trig, but you make me want to go back and get better at it. Thank you for your videos. I have been a subscriber for 5 years or so and I love everything you share with us.

  7. Verlisify says:

    I love this video concept and the way it was done

  8. Adam Laski says:

    This gave me hardcore Mythbusters nostalgia. Adam looked so in his element.

  9. SteveN says:

    I tend to forget that despite Adam’s general goofiness, he’s actually pretty knowledged.

    Fun fact (I looked it up out of curiosity a while back): wind resistance and their light weight is the same reason insects can fall from practically infinite heights and land unharmed.

  10. Decreasing_entropy says:

    As a Physics undergrad, this video scared me because for the first time, we saw that air resistance isn’t negligible.

    • Ray Shefh says:

      Probably by sophomore/junior year or so, they’ll introduce air resistance simultaneously with a required math course about differential equations. No point introducing more complicated stuff earlier when we haven’t introduced the means of solving/handling the problem. Once you have these basics down pat, it’ll get way more interesting! have fun!

    • xander10 says:

      @Larry Thielen He said he is an Undergrad, he hasn’t graduated. Also to note that it is a common inside physics Joke to poke fun at the “assume air resistance is negligable” that most questions we solve have when doing anything kinetic.

      On a related note, I’m in the 3rd year of my physics degree and I have not had a single case where Air resistance has been needed to be calculated. Nothing I’ve done in undergrad level physics yet has had anything to do with air resistance, so I have not looked at drag since secondary school.

      So yeah, OP is literally just referring to an Inside joke that you have not been exposed to as much as the average Physics Undergrad, that’s why you aren’t getting the humour here.

    • Henrik M says:

      @Larry Thielen You must either be trolling, or have a really hard time admitting you’re wrong on the internet. “Air resistance is negligible” is an inside joke, a meme, and apparently you weren’t aware of it, and that’s fine. But a bunch of people who were familiar with the joke tried to educate you, and yet you continued to argue. Apparently everyone in the world is wrong except for you. And your 5-year old, I assume, since they know about air resistance.

    • mdiem says:

      Eh, some second-order, perhaps quadratic differential equations, and you’ll be fine.

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