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The Foolproof Way to Fix a Wobbly Table

Solving life’s challenges one at a time—with math!

smithsonian.com

Wobbly tables are a fact of life. Yet the culprit is often not the table but the floor—and this distinction, says mathematician Matthias Kreck in the video above, opens the door to a surprisingly simple fix.

The easiest way to fix a tippy table, says Kreck, is to give it a quarter turn. Somewhere between where the table started and where you'll finish turning you'll find a stable point, and your table will tip no more. In the Numberphile video, Kreck lays out the surprisingly simple mathematical explanation for why this is the case.

Of course, not everyone body is willing—or able to place a wobbly table at whatever orientation that happens to de-wobble it. But for a circular four-legged table or a table whose orientation doesn't matter that much to you, this seems like a pretty handy tip.

H/T Matthew Feickert

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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