# Which side of a slice of pizza is most likely to hit the ground?

You drop a slice of pizza onto the floor. Which side is statistically most likely to hit the ground, the back or the front?

This is completely unscientific, but my guess is that just as toast invariably lands buttered side on the floor, pizza must always land top-side-down.

If you were to toss your pizza into the air it would pretty much be 50/50 as to whether it lands top side up or top side down, but that’s not usually how you drop pizza (or toast). More often the slice slides off the end of the table, which doesn’t impart enough of a spin to allow the pizza or toast to complete a full revolution, or get close enough to it that it lands top side up and bottom side down. Because of the moderate rate of spin, the pizza is statistically much more likely to end up pepperoni side down, and toast is similarly more likely to land butter side down.

I concur with kurtisokc. However, one could test the theory with a skydive simulator. Toss a slice of pizza into the fake free fall and see if one side comes up more than the other.

About the only way I’m going to drop a slice of pizza on the floor is if I’m carrying it on a plate and bump something or get bumped. Hard to say if it would tend to spin around its vertical axis, which would cause it to usually land right-side up, or just take a flip and land cheese side down.

In fact, the fall of buttered toasts has been studied scientifically. The scientist got an Ignobel prize for this research

When Mythbusters did their own study, it was entirely down to height. Because of the speed toast flips as it falls from table height, the butter side is face down once it reaches floor height. If toast drops from mouth height, as it may do for a clumsy individual, there is a better likelihood of it landing right-side-up.

Pizza, though, is more droopy and flexible than toast, an extra degree of unpredictability is involved, so there is probably room for further experimentation in this field.

This is a fascinating area that demands extensive and well-funded research. Meanwhile I offer my working hypotheses:

1. For short heights, like falling from table or waist height, Murphy’s Law dominates, and any flat food item or lid will land in such a way as to create the most mess. (see for instance: Wolfpup et al, 2012, Journal of Physics: “The effect of Murphy’s Law on the rotation vector of free-falling hors d’oeuvres”)

2. Moderate heights are exactly the same as short heights. For if they were different, then things would not be as bad as they otherwise might be, which violates Murphy’s Law.

3. For extreme heights, such as items falling from the roof of a house, Murphy’s Law dictates that the research investigator will unintentionally become part of the experiment.

pizzas are not toast.

pizzas are top heavy and will rotate. that piece of olive is not only tasty it is heavy.

May I suggest using some kind of jimmied-up fake pizza? For testing purposes only.

There is no need to waste good slices of pepperoni and sausage and extra cheese.

It all depends on whether the pizza is filled on the correct side or not.

Also if a cat is involved in the experiment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttered_cat_paradox

The term “study” is to be regarded with suspicion where Mythbusters is concerned.

For a fixed height, I guarantee I can achieve a wide variety of tumble rates depending on how fast the pizza is pushed laterally off of the edge of the counter. Anyone who has ever watched a stunt driver launch a car off of a ramp knows what I’m talking about here:

-launch slowly off of the end of the ramp, and gravity has a long time to pull down on the front of the car before the back wheels clear the ramp; the car will experience rapid nose-down tumble rate.

-drive off of the end of the ramp at high speed, and gravity has hardly any time at all to pull down on the front of the car before the back wheels clear the ramp; the car begins its flight with little or no nose-down tumble rate (though aerodynamics will certainly affect things after that point).

Pizza? Same deal. if you slowly nudge it until it tumbles over the edge on its own, it will achieve maximum rotation rate; anything could happen between there and the floor. OTOH, if you bat it sideways hard so that it whizzes across the counter and off the edge at high speed, there’s a good chance it’ll make it all the way to the floor and land crust side down without having tumbled at all.