Why does it do that?: Basketball Backspin Magnus Effect

Published: July 17, 2015

Why does it do that?: Basketball Backspin Magnus Effect, Veritasium, a channel of science and engineering videos, went to the top of the Gordon Dam in Tasmania, Australia, for a fun experiment. From atop the 460-foot dam, scientists were able to show what happens when a basketball is dropped from way above the ground with some backspin.

Humankinetics.com says:

The Magnus effect (often called the Magnus force and named after its 1852 discoverer Gustav Magnus) is a lift force of tremendous importance to all athletes who want to bend the flight of a ball. You see the Magnus effect at work in the curved flight path of balls that are thrown, hit, or kicked and at the same time are given a spin. Golfers, baseball pitchers, and soccer, tennis, and table tennis players all employ this effect to curve the flight path of the ball. The game of baseball in particular is made more fascinating by the Magnus effect. The ability of a pitcher to throw curveballs, sliders, screwballs, and knuckleballs that have very little spin—and then have a batter hit these pitches—is the essence of baseball.

This isn’t the only cool basketball video shot from atop the Gordon Dam.


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