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Why toast lands butter-side down?

August 31st, 2008

Is it a Math or a Myth?

Cracked! The Toast’s Butter-side Down Touchdown Mystery is Cracked!

Is there any definite reason why a buttered toast, if it slips out of the platter may tend to come in contact with the ground having its buttered face downward? Not convinced? You should consider wasting a real slice of your buttered toast by slipping it out of the plate you are holding and the moment it hits the floor, there, you will probably see how the buttered side of the toast smacks itself squarely on the floor surface.

This puzzling occurrence had also awakened the curiosity of Robert Matthews of Aston University in Birmingham. Can mathematics provide a precise clarification on this, or it will just fall alongside other unresolved lists of myths, let’s find out.

Motivated by this peculiar quandary, Robert Matthews conducted an experiment regarding this enigmatic occurrence and he was able to come up with this explanation. Matthews continued that this instance though a little bit mind-boggling yet it has an underlying solution.

He purposely assumed all the physical values of the buttered toast and all other pertinent factors that have one way or another contributed to the fall into a mathematical equation. He commented also that the equation he used could also be used if the toast happens to land on the floor on its other side.

The primary determining factor for this instance is the height of the fall itself. Of course, the presence of gravity is undeniable. Other determinants include the speed of the fall, the toast’s weight and the initial position of the toast on its container prior to and during the fall.

Assuming, that the toast slips out of its container accidentally, chances are high for one side of the toast to touch the rim of the plate or container before falling freely to the ground. Assuming again that the location where the accident occurred is inside an area wherein there is no strong wind movement present, the theory of aerodynamics in this experiment is set aside.

While the toast is undergoing its free fall and it is assumed that one side of it touches the rim of its container before the buttered toast slips out of it completely, it will surely take a spiraling or rotating downward movement, thus, giving us a picture that the odds were high for the toast not to land on its buttered side. But why it is more likely to land on its buttered side? Is there something special on the butter that attracts the floor or is it the other way around?

Well, the truth is, as the toast goes downward realizing that the other side of it was coated with butter, it definitely has more weight compared to the other side that does not have a butter coating. It is known that the law of gravity or the gravitational pull is stronger in heavier objects. Therefore, due to the added weight of the butter that was being applied on one side of the toast, the buttered side of the toast is more likely to touch the ground first.

Now if you’re still confused and do not agree with the conclusion, try something new. Put butter on both sides of the toast and let it go. Do you think the possibility for the toast landing on its buttered side is inevitable? Try it, its fun!

  1. Juancav
    September 14th, 2008 at 16:43 | #1

    Law of gravity,has the last opinion here.

  2. Fox
    September 15th, 2008 at 16:23 | #2

    Duh. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this one out. Kinda common sense dontcha think?

  3. September 22nd, 2008 at 16:55 | #3

    ever wondered why toast lands on the butter side down?

  4. mcgrimus
    October 6th, 2008 at 13:57 | #4

    This looks like specious reasoning to me. If the toast is spinning downward, it won’t stop spinning with the buttered wide down, right? At least not from a short distance. It also will spin pretty uniformly—not slowing down noticeably when the buttered side is facing downward. It seems the only difference between a buttered piece of toast falling and an unbuttered piece is that the center of gravity for the buttered piece would be slightly offset (toward the buttered side), which I think would be negligible.

    What’s more important would be the point at which the slice of bread falls off the table, the height of the table (pretty standard), and the density of the bread. I think that if you kept your bread on your plate buttered side down, you’d find very different results.

  5. lee
    November 30th, 2008 at 06:19 | #5

    why in the hell am i reading this

  6. January 28th, 2009 at 22:26 | #6

    Would you still eat the toast off the floor if it landed butter side up? Then why does it matter?

  7. marco
    February 3rd, 2010 at 17:12 | #7

    I don’t think this conclusion is right. From what I have read on the subject, the fact that toast usually lands buttered-side down has nothing to do with the weight of the butter. The reason it usually lands buttered-side down is because buttered toast most commonly falls from table height. When any piece of bread drops from table height and pivots over the edge of a plate, it usually makes only one 180-degree half-flip. Since most buttered toast start buttered-side up, after falling buttered toast is usually buttered-side down. The idea that butter, of all things, can add enough weight on one side of a piece of toast to cause it to land a certain way, is absolutely ridiculous.

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