The NUMB3RS Behind Rock Skipping
Skiffing, smutting, ricochet, "ducks and drakes." Those are all names for the art of rock skipping. It is now as much of a science as an art, thanks to physicist Lyderic Bocquet and his young son. Mr. Bocquet formulated equations of motion for stones, modeling them as a thin, flat object bouncing off a uniform surface. He discovered that the stones initial rate of speed and spin rate were the biggest factors in the stone's ability to skip multiple times. A high rate of spin generates a gyroscopic effect that prevents the stone from tumbling and diving into the water. Per his equations, the world record of 38 skips corresponds to a stone flying 12 meters while spinning at a rate of 14 revolutions/second.