A Visual Riddle (The Epitaph of Stevinus)

A physics riddle following the “Epitaph of Stevinus”.

A string of beads is placed on top of a triangular prism. One side of the string is longer, but the other is steeper, which raises the question: to which side the string will slide to, if at all?

This question was asked and answered by Simon Stevin over 400 years ago, in a thought experiment that proves the mechanical advantage of inclined planes. I.e., it demonstrates that inclined planes can be employed amplify the force exerted by small weights, allowing them to lift heavier objects.

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