What does it mean that cats have weird physics?


The phrase "cats have weird physics" is often used metaphorically to describe the seemingly paradoxical abilities of cats, such as their knack for always landing on their feet. This ability is scientifically explained through their unique skeletal structure and the righting reflex.

Physicist discusses the physics behind how cats rotate their bodies midair while preserving angular momentum. He notes that although angular momentum is conserved, cats manipulate their body's moment of inertia and interact with the air, which complicates the movement, making it appear more mystical than it actually is. This interaction with the environment enables them to land on their feet without violating the conservation laws of physics 1.

This blend of agility and physics in their movement contributes to the perception that cats have "weird physics." The complexity lies in the detailed and often counterintuitive ways cats achieve this maneuver, which goes beyond simple explanations and involves more intricate physics than might be initially apparent.

Physics Insights

Sean delves into the complexity of physics laws and their relation to life, highlighting the fine balance of the universe. He explores the nuances of angular momentum using a falling cat analogy, shedding light on the real-world intricacies beyond textbook explanations.

Mindscape Podcast

Mindscape Ask Me Anything | March 2020