Dropping objects on newspaper
You probably already know about the mystical force that exists on Earth called gravity. It pulls everything down toward the ground. It’s pretty amazing, because without gravity we would all be floating around in space. But have you ever wondered if this force pulls heavy objects down faster than light objects? The answer may surprise you.
Here’s an experiment you can do to find out:
- Lay newspapers on the floor around a chair. The newspapers make a distinct, easy-to-hear sound when objects land on them. This will help with the experiment.
- Stand on the chair while your partner lays on the floor looking up at the newspapers.
- Hold two oranges in each hand. Extend your arms straight out away from your body (and over the newspapers) so that each orange is the same height from the floor. Let go of both oranges at the same time. Did they hit the newspapers at roughly the same time?
- Now stand in the same position, but this time hold an orange in one hand and a grape (or some other small object) in the other hand. Let go of both objects at the same time.
Notice how the orange and the grape still hit the floor at the same time. Most people would have guessed that the orange would hit the floor first, but we now know that gravity pulls all objects downward at the same speed, regardless of their weight. Of course, air resistance influences this somewhat, so for more accurate results you’ll need to do this experiment in a vacuum (outer space).
Galileo’s free fall experiment supplies
Supplies: Newspaper, Orange
Galileo Galilei the Italian physicist who helped us learn about gravity
Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist and astronomer who is often credited with being the “father of modern science.” One of his most famous experiments involved dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to test the idea that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects.
Galileo’s experiment involved dropping two objects of different weights (a heavy cannonball and a lighter musket ball) from the top of the tower and observing their descent. He found that the objects hit the ground at the same time, contradicting the widely held belief at the time that heavier objects fall faster.
Galileo’s experiment was important because it challenged the Aristotelian view of the world, which held that heavier objects fell faster because they were more “naturally” suited for motion. Instead, Galileo showed that the speed at which objects fall is determined by gravity, a force that acts on all objects in the same way regardless of their weight.
Galileo’s experiment was a key moment in the history of science, and it paved the way for future breakthroughs in the understanding of the physical world. Today, we know that the force of gravity is a fundamental force of nature that shapes the behavior of objects on Earth and throughout the universe.
In-Article Image CreditsCampanile (Leaning Tower of Pisa), the Pisa Cathedral, and the Pisa Baptistry in the Piazza dei Miracoli via Wikimedia Commons by Arne Museler with usage type - Creative Commons License. April 2, 2022
Featured Image CreditCampanile (Leaning Tower of Pisa), the Pisa Cathedral, and the Pisa Baptistry in the Piazza dei Miracoli via Wikimedia Commons by Arne Museler with usage type - Creative Commons License. April 2, 2022