Earlier this year, high school student Michael Senatore sent the internet into a tizzy with a talent show routine involving artfully flipping a partially filled water bottle up in the air to land upright on a table. On Sunday, YouTube star The Backyard Scientist posted his own version of the water bottle flip using mercury in place of the usual liquid.
The Backyard Scientist starts off by demonstrating a proper bottle flip with water. Mercury weighs more than water, so using the same weight means there's a lot less liquid in the bottle. After just a couple of failed attempts, the mercury bottle sticks the landing. It's a thing of beauty when seen in slow motion.
"I even feel like the mercury-filled bottle is more stable than a water-filled body," the Backyard Scientist says.
The next test fills the bottle with a lot more mercury, 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) in total. This version of the flip is more tense, but still successful. The Backyard Scientist offers this tip for water-flippers: "I think the key to a perfect bottle flip is to rotate the bottle around its center of gravity, which is about the level of the liquid in the bottle."
The Backyard Scientist isn't the only person to attempt the mercury-for-water swap. Cody's Lab, of flushing mercury toilet fame, also took a shot at the feat. Both videos are worth watching, but you'll want to use water if you're trying this at home.