Can a coin dropped from a skyscraper really kill you?

Architects have designed a pair a buildings that will work together to not cast a shadow.
Architects have designed a pair a buildings that will work together to not cast a shadow. NBBJ/Vimeo

WE'VE all heard the myth that tossing a coin of the side of a skyscraper can kill people walking below if it strikes them on the head.

So should people in mega-cities walking around the tall buildings be alert for falling pennies and certain death?

Well according to a scientific investigation, even if a coin was thrown off the top of a skyscraper such as the Empire State Building and struck you on the head, it is more than likely you will walk away unscathed.

The theory was tested in the new book 'And Then You're Dead' by authors Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty.

They found that if a tourist at the top of the 102 floor Manhattan skyscraper was to drop a coin from the top, it would not bore into a pedestrian's head like a bullet.

Instead it would just bounce off the victim with little more than a light sting.

They explained that this is because a penny has a terminal velocity of just 25 miles per hour, meaning the coin would tumble as it fell and would slow down.

And even a heavier object such as a baseball would still not cause instant death if it hit someone on the head after being dropped from a great heightThis is because it would most like strike you at around 95 per miles hour, which is enough to leave you with a nasty concussion but not enough to kill you.

However, there is one thing that city workers should be aware of - and that's ink pens.

According to the authors, a pen with a ink nib hitting someone on the head would prove fatal, as its rodlike shape would probably pierce a victim's skull causing instant death.

But its not the only seemingly dangerous situation that is explored in the new book.

The pair also investigate what would happen if you were eaten by a shark or fell into a black hole.

And they also reveal how to survive if the cable of the lift you are travelling in snaps and you are sent plunging towards the ground.

But again, you'd have a pretty good chance of survival - so long as the lift fits snuggly in the shaft and you lie flat on the floor to evenly distribute your body weight.

Topics:  coin editors picks kill

News Corp Australia

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