Do you bend a penny’s metal? Do you bend a penny back?”
“It’s a little bit complicated. If you have a small angle of contact there’s a little bit of resistance there. So the idea is that if you want to bend the penny it would be better if the metal would have a little bit of resistance, more or less of resistance, and it should be as close to perfect as possible.”
And the process works on more than 50 varieties of penny. That’s why it’s one of the few parts on the planet that’s designed to bend in a specific way.
“Some of them have a very large radius around this center, whereas some have a very small radius around this center. It doesn’t really matter. It works the exact same way on all of them.”
The penny is almost a quarter the diameter of our palm. Bertrand, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of the bending effect, has designed a way to actually make your own coins bend. The process he tells us about is called “homing,” essentially, or “converging.”
So what is homing?
“The trick is not to change the value of the coin. The trick is to make the coin’s metal bend into a shape. To make a penny bend that makes the coin bend, you have to bend the metal to that particular angle. It’s called homing because the penny doesn’t move. It actually moves in the same way as a marble moves when it’s laid on the table.”
“What happens if you make a coin out of a marble?” asks Hodge.
“Well, it is just an ordinary marble, and it could happen that it’s slightly slightly bent. In fact, it won’t bend. It won’t bend any of its own weight. You just have to make sure that the material that you’re using has this angle of contact with this wire.” (Here’s video of the process on YouTube)
So you see a penny bent, and you can’t put your hand near it. How do you get the penny to bend?
“It’s just a simple trick. You have to just make contact with the wire. When you put a penny down and you have a coin, it has very little friction. The metal is very very stiff, if you hold a coin, you can’t put it down too close to the copper wire
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