What is a Gomboc?

If you are just a regular person, you have probably never heard of a Gomboc. Even most Indian star tortoises haven't heard of Gombocs.

But an Indian starred tortoise and a Gomboc are like each other.

An Indian starred tortoise has a really high shell. One thing that shell does is help the Indian starred tortoise get right side up if someone tips it over.

A Gomboc is a shape that doesn't tip over. Even if you hit it really hard, a Gomboc will go right back to the way it was before you hit it. That's because it has one stable point of equilibrium and one unstable point of equilibrium.

Dr. Vladimir Arnold, a mathematician in Russia, talked about such a shape, but he didn't figure out a real one for himself. Dr. Gabor Domokos and Dr. Peter Varkonyi figured out how to make a Gomboc. Well, they figured out what it would look like. Someone else had to make it because it must be precise.

If it isn't perfect, the Gomboc won't work properly. That means that a real Gomboc is very expensive. It's hard to make something that perfect. Dr. Domokos says, "Currently we know only about one reliable technology, and therefore the Gomboc is very expensive. For less wealthy Gomboc-fans we produce a glass cube with a 3D engraved which looks nice but can not move."

It looks like this.

The Gomboc for sale, but this one won't work. A real one is too expensive.

You can see a Gomboc moving and learn more about it on it's own Web site gomboc.eu.

Thank you to Dr. Domokos for the picture here.

Keep it slow and steady.

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