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Why Don’t Tightrope Walkers Fall?

Author: Edgar Zhu

Editors: Lydia Ren and Cynthia Zhang

Artist: Selena Zheng

Imagine this: an unprotected tightrope walker—a seemingly madman without any wires on his waist—strolling in a few hundred meters up in the air, the only thing he has is a single piece of a long pole which seems to have nothing to do with safety precautions. This is a familiar scene in the movie Man on Wire. The protagonist, Philip, finished what is still a stunning feat, standing between the World Trade Center towers in New York City, 110 stories and 412 meters tall. Philip, kneeling or lying on the cable, moved slowly and danced along the way. And he finished the whole process only with the help of a long metal pole. Behind this, however, certain scientific theories are preventing Philip from falling from a hundred feet up in the air.