### Citizen Science: Testing the Fairness of US State Quarters

As we were sitting around gambling our lunch money away today (note: we don't endorse gambling or take part in it during work hours), one of us happened to wonder whether one coin or another might be better for pitching pennies (note: see previous note about how we don't gamble at work).

 The three possible results of flipping a quarter: tails, edge, heads.
That naturally led to the question of whether the many different designs of new US quarters might affect the balance or aerodynamics of a flipped coin in ways that would make them more likely to land on one side than the other.

You would probably expect that if you flip a quarter many times it should land heads up just about as often as it lands tails up. In that case, the coin would be considered "fair." But if one or more of the newly issued quarters isn't fair, it could have implications for all sorts of things from letting a coin flip make major life decisions for you, to determining whether you're favorite Pop Warner football team will be better able to beat the spread (note: see above notes) if they happen know a quarter from Nevada, just to randomly pick a state, will more frequently come up heads during the opening coin toss.

What better way to scientifically test the fairness of  commemorative US state quarters than enlisting the millions of Physics Buzz readers in a grassroots experiment? So help us out by flipping some quarters and reporting the results in our survey form below.

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You may have noticed that we included a nod to a quarter's third stable orientation on a flat surface - in addition to ending heads up or tails up, it can potentially wind up standing on edge. Although the local potential minimum is much shallower, it's still entirely possible. We don't expect many quarters to stand on edge, of course.

In case you're interested in sharing this experiment with one of your friends who may also own a quarter, you can send them this link to the survey. We'd appreciate the help. The more flips we get, the better our stats and conclusions.

1. Really interesting, thanks​!​

I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across about crowds and citizen science.​ ​

It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

Really powerful stuff!

2. My students are flipping coins and adding data for you. Is there anytime soon that we might see the results?

3. Since I've learned how to manipulate the outcome of coin flips, I constructed a coin flipping device out of lego to eliminate any human variables. Loads of data incoming!

4. Where's the results?

5. Im doing this for a school project and i need the results in order to complete my project. Where could i go to find them or who should i talk to

1. do you go to IDCS?

6. Same thing as the person above

7. I need the results for a school project and this is the only project that interests me.

### How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

### Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

### The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?