Aside from the game’s storied past, what of the science? Haven’t you ever wondered how a stone skips across water? Spin, shape, speed and the “magic angle” are all crucial to success. Spin stabilizes the stone, which should be flat and round to work best. A minimum speed is required; otherwise the stone will hit the water and sink immediately. And, the “magic angle” between the spinning stone and the water should be around 20 degrees for maximum skip.
Of course, more detailed information can be found in applying concepts from physics, such as hydrodynamics, momentum and gravity. Rather than trying to explain it here, the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division has skipping stone science featured as part of its Everyday Mysteries presentation. All of the questions presented on the site were asked by researchers and answered by librarians from the division’s Science Reference Services.
The Science, Technology & Business Division's primary responsibilities are to provide reference and bibliographic services and to develop the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. In addition, the division also maintains, services and develops its own specialized collections of technical reports, standards and international open-source materials in the same subject areas mentioned above. The scientific, business and technical materials for which the division has collection-development responsibility comprise roughly 40 percent of the Library's total book and journal collection.
Over the years, the division has produced more than 100 individual publications, ranging from indexes, chronologies, and definitive bibliographies on a particular subject, to interpretive written studies based on the Library's collections. These publications include the popular Science Tracer Bullet series, which are informal literature guides on topics of current interest, and “A Guide to Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress,” which is available from the Business Reference Services.