The Physics of Wile E. Coyote’s 10 Billion-Volt Electromagnet | Wired

RHETT ALLAIN. SCIENCE12.31.2021 09:00

The famous cartoon schemer has an ingenious plan to lure Bugs Bunny out of his hole—and it involves a giant magnet and an iron carrot.

I LIKE TO analyze the physics of science fiction, and so I’m going to argue that the Merrie Melodies cartoon “Compressed Hare” takes place in the far future when animals rule the world. I mean, Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote walk on two legs, talk, and build stuff. How would that not be science fiction?

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.

OK, let’s break down the physics of this massive electromagnet and see if this would have worked if Bugs had fallen for it. […]

Continue reading: The Physics of Wile E. Coyote’s 10 Billion-Volt Electromagnet

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