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A recent HSC exam featured a question that could be described as either projectile motion, or angry birds (or both). So I thought a post on the physics of angry birds would be appropriate.

This post was written by Lucy Zhang.


Ever since its release in December 2009, Angry Birds has been downloaded 2 billion times across dozens of platforms, filling in countless hours of what would otherwise be tedious boredom. However, during that respite from real life, you would have immersed yourself in a world somewhat removed from the laws of physics. Instead, this parallel universe obeys different laws to ours, for instance:

1. Air resistance? What air resistance?

From the moment you launch your wingless bird into the air, it follows a majestic, perfect parabolic trajectory, nothing like your disappointing attempt to scoring a paper bin 3-point shot using your scrunched up artistic impression of a winged tiger spewing rainbows.

2. Casually laying an egg in mid-air makes you go faster

The white bird is one that seems to deny so many laws of physics that it would undoubtedly deny climate change as well. Sure force does equal mass times acceleration, but losing half its mass doesn’t halve the gravitational acceleration – it’s a constant, so white bird should surely continue to follow the same, air-resistance-defying trajectory.

3. Action < REACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every action has an opposite reaction, so assuming that white bird is twice the mass of the egg, then the bird should only experience half the acceleration of the egg. Out of all the birds, except for green bird, who somehow turns into a bird boomerang, white bird is the one most like that person who didn’t finish high school but created a consumer electronics company and completely reinvented computers. White bird is the Steve Jobs of Angry Birds – reinventing physics to distract us from the fact that everyone can smell that one guy’s casserole on the train home.

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