Because I didn't pay attention in high school physics, all things physics are brand new and super interesting to me.
This team dropped a basketball from over 400 feet at the top of a dam. First they let it drop straight down. Then they dropped it with a little backspin. Watch how far the ball goes with that little bit of spin!
The Magnus Effect says that as the ball picks up speed, air on the front side of the basketball is going in the same direction as its spin. It gets dragged along with the ball and deflected back. Air on the other side is moving opposite to the spin so the flow separates from the ball instead of getting deflected.
Check it out!
Photo credit: sihuo0860371 iStock