Updated: Jun 26
Balance all of the nail son the head of a single nail.
The object of the challenge is to balance all of the nails on the head of a single nail.All of the nails have to be balanced at the same time and cannot touch anything but the top of the nail that is stuck in the base. If you're really ambitious, you can try your luck at our large-scale version using landscape nails and a friend as the base.
Enough of this idle chatter... get balancing!
How does it work?
The trick to balancing the nails has to do with their "center of gravity"or balancing point. Place one nail on a flat surface and place other nails across this nail,head to head as shown in the photograph. Finally,place another nail on top of this assembly, head to tail with the bottom nail. Carefully pick up the assembly and balance it on the upright nail. Gravity pulls an object down as if all of its weight were concentrated at one point called the"center of gravity." Objects fall over when their center of gravity is not supported.For symmetrical objects like a ball or a meter stick, the center of gravity is exactly in the middle of the object.For objects that are not symmetrical, like a base ball bat, the center of gravity is closer to the heavier end.
The stability of the nails depends on their center of gravity being right at or directly below the point where they rest on the bottom nail. Add too many nails to the left or right and they become unstable and fall off.This "scientific" puzzle is trickier than it looks. The best way to solve the puzzle is to think of an idea and then try it out.Even if it doesn't work,you might think of another idea at the same time. The key is not to get frustrated and give up. Keep trying. You might even have to sleep on an idea and come back to it the next day. You may even want to share your ideas with someone else to see if they have a different approach to solving the problem. This problem solving process is exactly like the scientific method - ask a question, run some tests,ask another question, run some more tests, and eventuall y come to some conclusions. If your experiment or "solution" doesn't work, that's okay. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries have been made by mistake!