Tumbling toast, Murphy's Law and the fundamental constants

  title={Tumbling toast, Murphy's Law and the fundamental constants},
  author={Robert Matthews},
  journal={European Journal of Physics},
  • R. Matthews
  • Published 18 July 1995
  • Physics
  • European Journal of Physics
We investigate the dynamics of toast tumbling from a table to the floor. Popular opinion is that the final state is usually butter-side down, and constitutes prima facie evidence of Murphy's Law ('If it can go wrong, it will'). The orthodox view, in contrast, is that the phenomenon is essentially random, with a 50/50 split of possible outcomes. We show that toast does indeed have an inherent tendency to land butter-side down for a wide range of conditions. Furthermore, we show that this outcome… 

On the tumbling toast problem

A didactical revisitation of the so-called tumbling toast problem is presented here. The numerical solution of the related Newton's equations has been found in the space domain, without resorting to

A closer look at tumbling toast

The study of the mechanics of tumbling toast provides an informative and entertaining project for undergraduates. The relatively recent introduction of software packages to facilitate the analysis of

A regular contribution from Lars Ovesen, which we hope will help the busy scientist in keeping up with the literature: A toast to mathematics

You have probably experienced it. You are about to eat a buttered slice of bread. Suddenly it slides out of the hand. Isn’t it so that the bread always lands butter-side down? Murphy’s Law rules:

Cuando la tostada resbala de la mano

The behavior of the toast falling from a hand is used for studying the dynamics of the rotational systems. The system has already been studied, considering the slip of the toast of the right-angled

Trajectory of a body in a resistant medium: an elementary derivation

A didactical exposition of the classical problem of the trajectory determination of a body, subject to the gravity in a resistant medium, is proposed. Our revisitation aims to show a derivation of

Murphy's Law: A New Perspective for Management Accounting Research

A corollary to Murphy's Law is: The other lane always moves faster than my lane. We show that even when the law is objectively untrue, because of sampling bias, people perceive the law as true. A

What Could Happen, Will Happen? A Mathematical Proof and an Application to the Creation of Our Sub-universe

A valid proof of such 'laws' as 'What could happen, will happen' is impossible as they are false. This paper demonstrates this falsehood (Section 1), provides (Section 2) a formal and valid proof of

Introduction to Mathematica

This first chapter presents the most important syntactic differences between Mathematica and other programming languages, including the use of symbols, parentheses (), braces ·×, and brackets.

Spoofs in Science Journals

  • Andrew May
  • Education
    Fake Physics: Spoofs, Hoaxes and Fictitious Science
  • 2019
This chapter starts by looking at a number of historic spoofs in a similar vein to Asimov’s thiotimoline, but which were aimed—initially at least—at a more specialized audience. Some of them appeared



Man’s size in terms of fundamental constants

Why are we the size we are, instead of some very different size? Simple physical scaling laws and three ’’requirements’’ dictate that our size be of order (h/2/mee2)(e2/Gmp 2)1/4. They also

Bootle Rand FeUs I 1991 QED: Murphy> Luw

    Bootle R 1995 personal wmmuniation