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Youtuber Derek Muller Wins A “$10,000” Bet Against Physicist Alexander, From The University Of California, Los Angeles


Youtuber Derek Muller who owns the channel “Veritasium ” earlier challenged a physicist that a wind-powered vehicle could travel faster than the wind itself and he actually won the challenge.

Derek Muller by profession is a science communicator, filmmaker, television personality and inventor, who is best known for his YouTube channel Veritasium. He has won a lot of prizes during his lifetime for various inventions and won the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism in 2016.

Muller made a bet with a physicist of about $10,000 and he eventually won the bet. This bet included building a model and demonstrating the hypothesis. Muller had to build a model which was similar to the Blackbird which is a wind-powered vehicle built in 2010 to demonstrate that it is possible for such a vehicle to go directly downwind faster than the wind.

This all happened after Derek uploaded a video on his youtube channel on 29 th May about the Blackbird where outrun the wind. This video came across a physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles. The physicist was named Alexander Kostenko. Being a physicist he might possess a greater understanding and thus he explicitly wrote to Muller that his claim was completely wrong.

He even stated that the laws of physics would require it to be violated for the Blackbird to function in the way Muller has posted. So he completely believed that Muller’s video and the claim had no evidence. Muller was confident about his claim and thus invited the physicist where they bet $ 10,000 which is approximately Rs. 7,47,145 and both agreed to this bet.

To keep it fair two witnesses for the bet were invited one was from Muller’s side who was a famous celebrity science communicator called Neil deGrasse Tyson and the other from Alexander’s side was the well-known scientist Sean Caroll.

Alexander to prove that his point was right conducted an online virtual meeting with Muller and the two witnesses and gave a presentation of the calculations and reasons for why this claim was completely wrong and was based on inadequate grounds without proper experimentation. He later posted this exact meeting on the web to put forth his points in the bet.

It was time for Muller and according to the bet he needed to develop a model similar to the wind-powered Blackbird and show that it would outrun the wind.

He eventually won the bet which was announced on Thursday, 1 st July 2021, and said that Alexander had even transferred the $10,000 into his bank account. He did put forth certain points about the evidence he gave and said that the evidence he posted in the previous video was “not definitive”. This claim could have other explanations as well. The evidence was not definitive due to some other explanation that can be given the claim which can thus raise doubts. This was the exact explanation that Alexander had given. 

The evidence presented by Muller included two carts working similar to Blackbirds principles. Muller explained that the vehicle was able to outrun wind due to its propeller fan that was attached to the vehicle. This fan was in fact opposite to the wind flow which was the main reason for the vehicle to outrun the wind. This fan was able to apply much larger pressure than the wheels of the vehicle and was the hero of the vehicle.

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