A Physics Prof Bet Me $10,000 I’m Wrong

A UCLA Physics Professor bet me $10,000 that my video about going downwind faster than the wind was wrong. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

For more information about the Veritasium Science Communication Contest check out —

The wager agreement:

Prof. Kusenko’s slides:

My rebuttal:
Huge thanks to Xyla Foxlin for building the model cart, and making the instructions so accessible to the public. Check out Xyla’s video —

A massive thanks to Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Sean Carroll for witnessing the signing of the wager.

A huge thanks to Prof. Alexander Kusenko for being a man of honour — it’s a difficult thing to change your mind, especially in a public forum.

A huge thanks to Prof. Mark Drela for the interview and help making sure we got the physics right.

A massive thanks to Rick Cavallaro for making Blackbird, all your insights, analysis, data, and general help with these videos — it was so fun to work with you on this crazy project — check out Rick’s channel

M. Drela. Dead-Downwind Faster Than The Wind (DDWFTTW)
Analysis (Jan 2009) —

2013 AAPT United States Physics Olympiad Semifinal Exam —

Rick’s treadmill footage —

Rick’s multiple explanations of how Blackbird works —

Blackford, B. L. (1978). The physics of a push‐me pull‐you boat. American Journal of Physics, 46(10), 1004-1006. —

Ruina corrects errors in the above paper:

Forum discussions — Blog — and retraction

Bauer, A. B. (1969, April). Faster than the Wind. In First AIAA Symposium on Sailing. —

Bauer’s Obituary —

Gaunaa, M., Øye, S., & Mikkelsen, R. F. (2009). Theory and design of flow driven vehicles using rotors for energy conversion. In EWEC 2009 Proceedings online EWEC

Md. Sadak Ali Khan, Syed Ali Sufiyan, Jibu Thomas George, Md. Nizamuddin Ahmed. Analysis of Down-Wind Propeller Vehicle. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 3, 4. (April 2013) ISSN 2250-3153.

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim Buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal


Written and Edited by Derek Muller
Animation by Mike Radjabov
Manim equations by Jonny Hyman
Filmed by Emily Zhang and Raquel Nuno
Music from Epidemic Sound and by Jonny Hyman
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Produced by Emily Zhang, Petr Lebedev and Derek Muller

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