The physics behind Wile E. Coyote’s 10 billion-volt electromagnet

Rhett Allain dug deep to explain how Wile E. Coyote’s 10 billion-volt electromagnet worked from a physics perspective, starting with a giant magnet and an iron carrot:

Let me set the scene—and I don’t think we have to worry about spoiler alerts since this episode is 60 years old. The basic idea is, of course, that Wile E. Coyote has decided he should eat the rabbit. After a couple of failed attempts to capture Bugs, he comes up with a new plan. First, he’s going to drop a carrot-shaped piece of iron into Bugs’ rabbit hole. After the carrot is consumed (and I have no idea how that would happen), Wile E. Coyote will turn on a giant electromagnet and pull the rabbit right to him. It’s such a simple and awesome plan, it just has to work, right?

But wait! Here’s the part that I really like: While Wile E. Coyote is assembling his contraption, we see that it comes in a huge crate labeled “One 10,000,000,000 Volt Electric Magnet Do It Yourself Kit.”

In the end, you can probably guess what happens: Bugs doesn’t actually eat the iron carrot, so once the coyote turns on the magnet, it just goes zooming toward him and into his cave. And of course a bunch of other stuff gets attracted to it, too—including a lamppost, a bulldozer, a giant cruise ship, and a rocket.

Yes, it’s a cartoon, but it’s cool to see the real-life science behind a creation like this, especially when it can help anyone studying physics or those with curious minds. Or Wile E. Coyote stans of which I’m sure some exist (fun fact: I used to own a Wile E. Coyote plush when I was 9. Wish I still had it!)

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