Thermodynamics: The 2016 advent calendar
Day 8

Putting a stop to perpetual motion

A simple guide to debunking perpetual motion machines.

Perpetual motion machines are tantalising. Videos of contraptions claiming to have achieved the impossible goal of endless free motion rack up millions of views on YouTube. But they’re not real. Perpetual motion machines violate the fundamental laws of our universe. In this video, we teamed up with YouTuber Tom Scott to provide three simple ways to debunk persistent claims of perpetual motion: a guide to protect you from the bunk.

People have been peddling perpetual motion for centuries. On his channel, Tom Scott gets his hands on Thomas Young’s machine from our museum, explains why it doesn’t work, and imagines just what would happen if we really could make a perpetual motion machine:

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