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Veritasium posted a video, featuring a visualization of an "intuitive" explanation of the Intermediate Axis Theorem by Terry Tao, based on centrifugal forces in a rotating frame of reference:

Unfortunately, the animation is just as incomplete, as Tao's original explanation from 2011, and suggests the lowest moment of inertia axis would be unstable as well. The video conveniently doesn't show the animation for that case.

Fortunately, Tao has now posted an update, which also accounts for the Coriolis forces, which are crucial to explain why the lowest moment of inertia axis is stable. His explanation makes much more sense now:

https://mathoverflow.net/a/82020

I hope someone will make a similar 3D animation that includes the Coriolis forces.

Obviously, explaining something using a counter intuitive rotating frame of reference might not be really intuitive to many. Ideally you would break it down to linear dynamics in an inertial frame.

Unfortunately, the animation is just as incomplete, as Tao's original explanation from 2011, and suggests the lowest moment of inertia axis would be unstable as well. The video conveniently doesn't show the animation for that case.

Fortunately, Tao has now posted an update, which also accounts for the Coriolis forces, which are crucial to explain why the lowest moment of inertia axis is stable. His explanation makes much more sense now:

https://mathoverflow.net/a/82020

I hope someone will make a similar 3D animation that includes the Coriolis forces.

Obviously, explaining something using a counter intuitive rotating frame of reference might not be really intuitive to many. Ideally you would break it down to linear dynamics in an inertial frame.

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