Why so special 2
Although the study of the number and location static equilibrium points in rigid bodies dates back to the time of Archimedes, one of the most fundamental questions on the subject has remained open until very recently. How few equilibrium points can a single solid object have?
While there were strong indications that this minimal number should be 4, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Vladimir Igorevich Arnold, thought otherwise and suggested in 1995 that the minimal number may be 2. This speculation baffled many scientists as no one had ever seen an object with just 2 equilibrium points. Ten years later, Arnold’s theory turned out to be correct, as two Hungarian engineers first proved the existence of such objects and subsequently built a physically functioning shape which they named the “Gömböc.” The first functioning Gömböc (with individual serial number 001) was donated in Moscow, on August 20th 2007 by the inventors of the project to Arnold on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Here, upon receiving Gömböc 001, Arnold offered further thoughts connecting the Gömböc to natural sciences.
Although he did not live to know, Arnold was once again proved to be right. The Gömböc shape appears to be deeply embedded in the natural world. For example, as pebbles erode they reduce their number of equilibrium points and thus, in this sense, become more similar to the Gömböc. However, it is extremely unlikely that any pebble would ever reach this ultimate goal. Using this theory, scientists can draw wide-ranging conclusions on the history of a worn pebble or rock – based alone on its shape. If you are interested in further fun facts about Gömböc, stay updated and follow our blog for more news!
You can find more information on the background of this unique mathematical innovation at www.gomboc.eu.