Almost every general physics text includes a description of the primary forces involved with a floating object, weight and buoyant force. However, the physical orientation of the floating object is rarely discussed. The goal of this paper is to go beyond what Archimedes taught us. Motivation for this paper started with a Physics Today article1 by Henry Pollack describing iceberg orientations. Almost as an aside, the author mentions a floating cube of wood and its nonintuitive orientations.

“Hey, Archimedes, how will this wooden cube float? Face up, corner up, edge up?” The experimental answer is simple, just put it in the water. The theoretical answer is a bit more interesting (challenging). Two theoretical papers2,3 have answers to the question and much more. However, the papers require much “unpacking,” and no experimental results are given.

The “Archimedes question” mentioned above has been asked of many students, faculty, and others...

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