The Einstein Flip.

What do you get when Cambridge University physicist Helen Czerski and professional BMX rider Ben Wallace put their heads together? You get the Einstein Flip—a unique stunt in commemoration of the “Einstein Year” project.

“Physics relates to all of our lives – from fun things like fizzy drinks to life-saving medical imaging technology. This innovative bike stunt is the perfect way of illustrating how fun and relevant physics can be to young people.”

Dubbed the ‘Einstein Flip’, the stunt is described as ‘pushing the boundaries of what it is humanly possible to do on a bike’ by Cambridge University physicist Helen Czerski, who collaborated with professional BMX rider Ben Wallace to create the manoeuvre.

In the stunt, 18-year-old Wallace, a competitor in extreme sports events around the world, launched off a six-feet high ramp and spun backwards through 360 degrees while simultaneously folding his bike underneath him in a move known to BMX devotees as a ‘tabletop’. At one point, onlookers saw Wallace upside down, travelling at 15mph, with his head 12-feet off the floor.

Czerski, a keen sportswoman and diver herself, said: “I spent a lot of time looking at the physics behind various stunts, trying to understand the limits of what is physically possible to determine how far we could push the parameters with our new creation. I then tested our ideas using a computer simulation to plot a new stunt.”

Haven’t found any footage or pics of this stunt in action, but it sounds damned impressive. So why a bike stunt in Einstein’s honor? Because Einstein himself was an avid bike rider and legend has it he came up with his theory of Special Relativity while cruising around on his two-wheeler. It’s also a very cool way to show kids how something as esoteric as physics really does apply to them.

Link found via Boing Boing.

2 thoughts on “The Einstein Flip.

  1. So much ado about nothing. BMX riders have been pulling much much harder tricks than this one…

    The “Einstein Flip” is what we would call a “backflip tabletop”, where the rider turns the handlebar 90 degrees and leans the bike while performing a backflip.

    Impressive but not as hard as “backflip double barspin”, where the handlebar rotates 720 degrees while performing the backflip. Or a “backflip tailwhip”, where the bike rotates 360 degrees while the handlebar stays still and performing the backflip…

    Check for the video “Kagy throws the flip-whip and carves the course” at http://expn.go.com/xgames/sxg/viii/archive/video/#

    With all respect, physicists know very little about extreme sports…

    Antao

  2. Antao, actually the Einstein flip is a Backflip 360 Tabletop, this little part is making it much bigger isn’t it?

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