Spinning Top

picture of a spinning top

The spinning top, like the kind seen in the movie Inception, is a fascinating toy. When you spin it at high speed, it is able to stand up vertically without falling over, as the video shows.

Check out a video of a spinning top:



The reason that a spinning top can resist falling over is difficult to explain fully. But basically, the spinning action creates a gyroscopic force which keeps the top from falling over. If the top stops spinning, the force disappears and the top falls over.

The top can spin for quite a long time, before it has slowed down enough due to friction so that it falls over.



Return to Science Toys page


Return to Real World Physics Problems home page



If you need one-on-one help with physics, get help from a Chegg Tutor! 30 minutes free for new users.



If you need one-on-one help with physics, get help from a Chegg Tutor! 30 minutes free for new users.