Watch: Crack the whip!

These two videos are about as different in their tonality and form as two videos can be. On the one hand: SmarterEveryDay with its enthusiastic and playful host and engineer Destin Sandlin teaming up with the mechanical engineer and professional whip artist April Choi for “How does a whip break the sound barrier?”. On the other hand: a very serious group of French scientists and engineers studying the “Biomechanics of a Pianist”. But both films are fun to watch for the same reason: They show very complex experimental setups, explain them in depth, and both don`t have a final answer to their initial question.

Biomechanics of a Pianist

By The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

How does a whip break the sound barrier?

by SmarterEveryDay

Sandlin’s and Choi’s project starts out as a fun experiment to figure out how a whip breaks the sound barrier. As it is getting more complex with each step, more people get on board until the whole thing becomes a more and more »scientific« endeavour.

In the other clip, the French engineers Floren Colloud, Jean-Christophe Valière and Maëva Retailleau set out to determine how the particular sound of a pianist is influenced by his or her biomechanical features and movements. They knew from the start that finding the answer required a very complex experiment that would not yield quick answers, but they did it anyway.

Both videos allow a rare glimpse into the process of doing research and let us observe firsthand the great lengths to which scientists often have to go to collect the best possible data to answer their research questions.

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