11
votes
5answers
500 views

To what extent does trajectory determine gravity sources?

Suppose one has in-hand an accurate time-space trajectory in $\mathbb{R}^3$ of a (small) body, say an asteroid or satellite—effectively a point. To what extent does this trajectory determine the ...
7
votes
1answer
293 views

Generalizing a square wheel to a body rolling on a surface

A square wheel rolling on a catenary road maintains the wheel center at a fixed height, a well-known construction previously discussed on MO (e.g., "Generalizing square wheels rolling on inverted ...
10
votes
0answers
371 views

Functions approximated by rolling epicycle curves

Imagine a decreasing sequence of (positive) radii $r_1 > r_2 > r_3 > \cdots$ and a series of nested circles $C_1 \supset C_2 \supset C_3 \supset \cdots$ with these radii, initially each ...
10
votes
2answers
541 views

Floating polyhedra with fair equilibria

Is there a homogeneous convex polyhedron which floats so that some subset (perhaps all) of its faces is distinguished as "up" (above the water line) in stable equilibrium, each face with ...
3
votes
1answer
555 views

Which motion is exclusive in 3D or higher dimensions?

Hi guys, I have a simple question Linear movement can be found in 1D, 2D and 3D world objects Rotation can be found in 2D and 3D world objects. Now, are there any kind of motion can only be found ...
43
votes
8answers
5k views

Fair but irregular polyhedral dice

I am interested in determining a collection of geometric conditions that will guarantee that a convex polyhedron of $n$ faces is a fair die in the sense that, upon random rolling, it has an equal ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

$\exists$ a shot in ideal pocket billiards?

Assume you have one shot with the cue ball in pocket billiards (a.k.a. pool), with the game idealized in that no spin is placed on the cue ball in the initial shot, all collisions between billiard ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Hanging a ball with string

What is the shortest length of string that suffices to hang a unit-radius ball $B$? This question is related to an earlier MO question, but I think different. Assume that the ball is ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Parabolic envelope of fireworks

The envelope of parabolic trajectories from a common launch point is itself a parabola. In the U.S. this weekend many will have a chance to observe this fact direcly, as the 4th of July is ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Generalizing square wheels rolling on inverted catenaries

It is not uncommon to see in a science museum a bicycle with square wheels that rides smoothly over a washboard-like surface made from inverted catenary curves (e.g., at the Münich museum). The ...
11
votes
4answers
885 views

When sticks fall, will they weave?

Imagine $n$ $z$-vertical sticks uniformly spaced around a unit-radius circle in the $xy$-plane. At $t{=}0$, each is randomly $\epsilon$-perturbed from the vertical, and they fall under the influence ...