Behind Rock Skipping
These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
Skiffing, smutting, ricochet, "ducks
and drakes." Those are all names for the art of rock skipping. It is
now as much of a science as an art, thanks to physicist Lyderic Bocquet
and his young son. Mr. Bocquet formulated equations of motion for stones,
modeling them as a thin, flat object bouncing off a uniform surface.
He discovered that the stones initial rate of speed and spin rate were
the biggest factors in the stone's ability to skip multiple times. A
high rate of spin generates a gyroscopic effect that prevents the stone
from tumbling and diving into the water. Per his equations, the world
record of 38 skips corresponds to a stone flying 12 meters while spinning
at a rate of 14 revolutions/second.