Andreas Wahl is a daredevil of a scientist. He believes in the power of physics and isn't afraid to put his own body on the line to demonstrate it. That's why he willingly stepped into a pool, stood in front of a loaded gun and fired it at himself under the water.
Wahl stands with his head out of the pool, the water coming up to his chin. The gun is positioned underwater and aimed at his midsection. He has a string hooked up to pull the trigger. Slow-motion footage taken from the side gives a complete view of the action and how the bullet struggles to cut through the liquid.
Here's the quick explanation of why Wahl was safe during this harrowing experiment: "It's harder to create movement in water than in air, because water molecules are closer together than air molecules." It's all about resistance. A bullet flying through the air faces very little resistance and can travel far at a high speed. In the water, it faces all sorts of drag that impedes its progress.
Wahl is building a reputation for himself as the stunt man of the science world. He shared the bullet project on Sunday, but a previous video shows him spraying himself with water and then roasting himself in a fire. Another film shows him dropping from a great height on a thin rope with nothing but a weight on the other end to break the fall. The videos are produced for NRK Viten, billed as the Norwegian public broadcaster's "official channel for science experiments and explosions."
The underwater gun experiment may have you rethinking certain scenes in action movies where characters dodge bullets that appear to tunnel dramatically through the water around them.
Needless to say, this is not the sort of thing you should try at home. Wahl's experiment and video evidence should be proof enough that the science is sound.
(Via Laughing Squid)