The art of pizza tossing, down to a weensy science.
Researchers at Monash University in Australia have broken down the physics of the art of pizza tossing and used those mathematical principles to design teeny tiny motors called standing wave ultrasonic motors (SWUMs). Essentially itty bitty pizzas that never stop spinning.
The system’s dynamics explains why certain tossing motions are used by dough-toss performers for different tricks: a helical trajectory is used in single tosses because it maximizes energy efficiency and the dough’s airborne rotational speed, a semi-elliptical motion is used in multiple tosses because it is easier for maintaining dough rotation at the maximum rotational speed. The system’s bifurcation diagram and basins of attraction also informs SWUM designers about the optimal design for high speed and minimal sensitivity to perturbation.
If you want to get nerd mathy, check out the researchers abstract.