Something bothered Oliver O’Reilly. Specifically, he was bothered that his shoelaces always came untied when he went out running. O’Reilly, a professor of mechanical engineering with the University of California, Berkeley, decided to conduct an in-depth study to figure out why his shoelaces came untied when he went running.
Using a high-speed camera and a study co-author (Christine Gregg) as the runner, they filmed actual knots untying. Eventually, the researchers conducted studies on a pendulum that mimicked the stride of a runner. This kind of controlled study (pun intended) added weight to their work.
Okay, I am going to tell you what the researchers discovered. Try to keep up with me on this part. I will put this in plain English to help. Here is what the researchers figured out: Shoelaces come untied because the laces are flopping around.
Upon finishing their study, the researchers published a paper. The paper includes actual photographs of shoelaces, some stuff about inertia and gravity, and shoes.
I read about this study with great fascination, but in the end wondered: Why didn’t Oliver’s mother teach him to tie a double-knot so his laces won’t come untied?
--Mitchell HegmanIf you are interested in reading more about the shoelace study, try this link: http://www.livescience.com/58649-why-shoelaces-untie.html