If someone took a single strand of dried spaghetti and bent it to the point of breaking, it would break into three pieces instead of two. Sometimes, it will break into four. Smarter Every Day uses super slow motion to show how and why this phenomenon happens.

Video Summary

This bizarre occurrence managed to stump even Richard Fineman, a well-known physicist and Nobel prize winner. When watching dried pasta being broken at 40,000 frames per second, the explanation is a little clearer. When the break occurs, the smaller piece of pasta will move away from the first break and downwards from the second. It’s as if it tries to straighten itself out but can’t quite overcome its own mass. This is because the spaghetti is in torque when it is bent. Once broken, the center piece will try to straighten itself out and result in a second break due to the other half still being in torque.