A YouTuber bet a physicist $10,000 that a wind-powered vehicle could travel twice as fast as the wind itself - and won

The Blackbird vehicle powered by wind. Rick CavalleroPopular YouTuber, Amir Khan, filmed himself driving downwind in a wind-powered vehicle faster than the wind.UCLA Professor Bet $10,000 on the Video's Wrongness. He claimed it violated the laws of Physics.The bet was overseen by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. The professor eventually conceded and agreed to pay.Check out more stories from Insider's business page.Derek Muller didn't set out to cause scientific controversy when he took a land yacht prototype for a spin this spring. He was not trying to win $10,000.Muller, creator of Veritasium YouTube channel loves to explain science concepts to his 9.5 million subscribers. He published a May video on Blackbird, a vehicle that runs on wind power.Blackbird was created by Rick Cavallaro (an ex-aerospace engineer), and it can travel directly downwind for sustained periods faster than the wind. Taking is a technique that allows boats to travel faster than the wind. Any good sailor will tell you this. The idea that a vehicle can travel straight downwind faster than the wind, without tacking, is controversial."I knew that this was a difficult problem. "I'll be completely honest and say that I didn’t understand the mechanics of the craft when I went to pilot it," Muller explained to Insider.Blackbird's design is so bizarre that Alexander Kusenko (a UCLA professor of Physics) emailed him to tell him it was wrong. Kusenko stated that a vehicle like this would be against the laws of physics.Muller stated, "I said, "Look, if this isn't true, let's bet some money on it." He offered a $10,000 wager, not knowing that Kusenko would accept it.Kusenko was open to the idea, and they continued to exchange data and argue about Blackbird over the next few weeks. To help determine who was right, they even invited in some of the most prominent scientists, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye.Continue the storyMuller won the final battle."I didn't see a way that I could lose"Blackbird side view Rick CavalleroKusenko received a document containing the terms of the bet, Muller stated.Muller stated, "Everything was always super tight, I never saw any way I could lose."Kusenko, however, was just as confident. Kusenko said last month that he was confident because of the laws and physics. Insider reached out to Kusenko for comment but he did not respond.Kusenko gave Muller a long presentation in which he explained why he believed that Blackbird had been fooled by bad science. Professor Kusenko stated that Blackbird was likely using intermittent wind gusts to speed up his vehicle. His objections were outlined on a page on his UCLA website. However, it has been removed.Muller for his part sent Kusenko data during the driving test in his video. It was shot in the El Mirage lakebed. Blackbird was able to accelerate for over two minutes during that drive. This feat would have been impossible had it not relied on intermittent gusts.In a tailwind of 10 mph, the vehicle reached 27.7 mph.Muller even hired Xyla Foxlin (a YouTuber) to create a model cart that was similar to Blackbird and could be tested on a treadmill. Foxlin proved that her wind-powered model can go faster than the wind, and she was able to show it.In a follow up video (below), Muller captured the back-and-forth. He released it in June."Kusenko was so certain he was right. Muller stated that he wanted to make it public.How Blackbird worksGoogle and Joby Energy sponsored Cavallaro in 2010 and a team from San Jose State University to create Blackbird. The vehicle was able to travel downwind at 2.8 times the speed of the wind, which was confirmed by the North American Land Sailing Association.Cavallaro explained that Blackbird works because the vehicle's wheels turn the propeller blades once it is moving. They are connected by a chain to the blades. The propeller's speed increases as the vehicle accelerates. The propeller blades act as fans, pushing air behind the yacht and propelling it forward.Rick Cavallaro is an engineer and builder in the driver's seat on his wind-powered vehicle. Rick CavalleroCavallaro, Sportvision's chief scientist, said to Insider that "I never imagined that a decade later, a Physics professor would still be arguing why it's impossible."After three weeks of debate Kusenko admitted that Blackbird could travel slightly faster than wind but only for short periods. He said that if a gust of wind speeds up the land yacht, then it will appear that Blackbird is traveling faster than wind.Muller stated that "the resolution of our wager was not as smooth as I hoped." Muller said, "Kusenko coughed the 10 grand. Let's just leave it at that."The Blackbird vehicle from the front. Rick CavalleroCavallaro also wanted to be more aware of the vehicle's capabilities.Cavallaro stated that Kusenko "contemplates on a technicality" - that the vehicle temporarily moves marginally faster than wind speed temporarily. I offered him another $10,000 wager, as his technicality was completely wrong. But I know that I won't hear from him."Muller's videos have at least 6.8 millions views and 41,000 comments. Many agree with Kusenko about Blackbird's inability to travel faster than the wind. Many viewers even asked Muller if he would make any follow-up wagers.Muller stated, "It damages a lot people's brains." It clearly got Kusenko, too."Business Insider has the original article.