Swimming in Curved Space

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Baron von Munchausen claimed to have rescued himself from drowning in a swamp by pulling himself up by his hair. J. Wisdom noted that this is possibly not such a tall story if the Baron lived in a curved space, where it is possible to move without change in momentum. This is analogous to a cat turning without changing its angular momentum and landing on its feet. The swimmer in the Demonstration uses only internal forces, but can still move by changing and , and then reversing the changes. Note that the same stroke leads to opposite swimming direction in the positively and negatively curved spaces.

Contributed by: Oren Raz and Joseph E. Avron (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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