Done drop that penny!

We have all heard the myth that if one where to drop a penny off of a tall building the innocent person below could just lose his or her life. The idea has been around since buildings became taller than five stories. Now how could this simple penny have the power to kill someone who is walking below? Well the answer is simple, it doesn’t.

This myth has been tested a multitude of times and do not worry you are not in danger of a falling penny if you walk at the base of the empire state building. Yet why is this? The empire state building is nearly 1250 feet from one of the observational decks in which a peny can in fact be dropped. according to a post on “TodayIFoundOut” the penny would reach a speed of about 190mph. That may seem fast and grant it yes 190 mph is fast but is it fast enough to penetrate a skull? The answer is again no. The penny just does not have enough power to break the bone. And no they did not test the myth by actually dropping the penny. Scientist where able to use wind tunnels and different forms of high pressurized air cannons to test different parts of the myth.

Empire State Building by David Shankbone.jpg

Also is the penny’s aerodynamics are definitely not the best which does count against it. The penny will obviously be encountering a large amount of wind and the dimensions and shape of the penny do not exactly allow it to cut through the wind. While plummeting towards the ground thanks to the help of some physics, the penny would not actually reach a deadly speed due to its terminal velocity. There is a point in which the penny will go no faster without another force acting upon it and the terminal velocity of the penny is enough to due no more than a sting. On the Mythbusters they tested this myth. They also showed how due to the size of the empire state building, there is actually an updraft in which which is caused by the wind and air hitting the building and being pushed up making the penny’s journey towards the ground even harder. They also showed how the penny even at high velocities cannot seem to even break the skin of a human. Whether it be due to the fact that because the penny does not have enough weight or because the penny cannot seem to get up to speed to the point where it is actually harmful.So as proven by science the penny is not a killer. The statistics shown within the studies prove that the penny has no way of reaching a deadly speed from being dropped from the building.


3 thoughts on “Done drop that penny!

  1. jvs6117

    This post is cool because I believe people drop stuff from the Empire state Building all the time. I haven’t heard of people dying from a penny dropped from it and if it did happen I’m sure they would have been stopped people from going to the edge. My question is how high would a penny have to drop to be able to kill someone since it can’t kill someone from the Empire State building. In addition what would be the odds of a penny hitting someone after being dropped anyway. Moreover, I still believe the penny would still harm someone dropping from that height at that speed.

  2. Jiang Shan

    This blog is pretty interesting because this exact question had been bothering me for years. This exact question pops up every time I go near the empire state building. Sometimes I actually want to drop a penny from the empire state building and see what could happen; however I am scared of the result. In your blog, you mentioned that the dimensions and shape of the penny do not exactly allow it to cut through the wind. So what if you drop something like a small rock from the Empire State building. I believe a small rock can cut through the wind. Overall, I really wish someone could perform an actual experiment and see the exact damage a penny can cause when it’s dropped from the Empire State building.

  3. ayd5332

    In the blog, you said this myth had been tested. How did they test it though before knowing if it were true or not? I think it would be interesting and useful if you included the testing! Because dropping a penny before knowing the results, could have killed someone before they knew it in fact would not. Did it get tested in a safe way first or another area?

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