What’s heavier: a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? A riddle, explained.

What’s Heavier: 1 Pound of Feathers or 1 Pound of Lead? It’s More Complicated Than It Seems.  

The state of the universe.
Aug. 5 2014 12:56 PM

What’s Heavier: 1 Pound of Feathers or 1 Pound of Lead?

A classic gotcha riddle may be more complicated than it seems.

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Feathers fly in the air as people take part in a pillow fight in Zlin, southeastern Moravia, Czech Republic, on April 16, 2014. With 224 people taking part, the event was the country's largest pillow fight and will get an entry in the Czech version of the Guinness Book of Records. AFP PHOTO/ RADEK MICA (Photo credit should read RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images

The obvious answer to the old “feathers or lead?” riddle is that they weigh the same, but clever research on the subject offers a more complicated view. Don’t count out so-called “dynamical symmetry.” ​

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