You hang a rapidly spinning top on one end from a string and let it go. It doesn't fall. It rotates around the point where it is hung from the string. Mathematically, I understand it. Angular momentum is changed by torque, which is moment arm cross force. So vertical gravity produces a horizontal change in angular momentum, etc. I know the math and I can do it in my sleep! I learned this years ago. But still, after all this time, this system from the point of view of forces and acceleration, as opposed to angular momentum and torque, still makes no sense to me. I still cannot "intuit" why the various forces involved somehow "conspire" to send the top in horizontal motion rather than pulling it down. Anyone have an explanation?

  • $\begingroup$ Related youtube video by VSauce. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist May 15 '20 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant starting time in above video: 5:38 $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist May 15 '20 at 18:08