Hurtling through the air on a serpentine track has universal appeal. Japanese women in kimonos ride a roller coaster during their Coming of Age Day event in Tokyo on Jan. 10. The Coming of Age day is held annually on the second Monday of January to congratulate all those who have reached the age of 20. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/File
The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster at Universal Orlando Resort spins riders upside down at high speed. Courtesy The Discovery Channel/Newscom/File
The Cyclone roller coaster, in Coney Island, N.Y., was built in 1927 and is one of America's oldest operating wooden coasters. Richard B. Levine/Newscom/File
The world's steepest roller coaster, 'Takabisha,' with a free-falling angle of 121 degrees, operates at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida, west of Tokyo. Fujikyu Highland/Reuters/File
The wings of the Manta roller coaster at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., skim the surface of the lagoon, throwing a 14-foot-high, 60-foot-long spray of water. Dirk Shadd/St. Petersburg Times/Newscom/File
Built in 1989, the Magnum XL-200 roller coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, is an Arrow Dynamics steel hypercoaster that was the first to break the 200-foot barrier. It is considered to have started the roller coaster wars, in which amusement parks competed to build the highest and fastest roller coasters. Dan Feicht/Cedar Point/Newscom/File
Tourists enjoy a roller coaster at Universal Studios Singapore on May 30. Then Chih Wey/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom/File
US Navy sailors ride a Busch Gardens Tampa roller coaster in 2005. PRNewsFoto/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment/File
Riders cool off on the Shipwreck Falls amusement ride on a hot, sunny day at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in Darien Center, N.Y., on June 8. David Duprey/AP/File
The Intimidator roller coaster, which runs at Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., was inspired, the park says, by NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt. Mikki Hughes/Carowinds/AP/File
Knott's Berry Farm patrons enjoy a ride on the wooden Ghost Rider roller coaster in Buena Park, Calif., on May 27. Zumapress/Newscom/File
People ride the Windstorm roller coaster at the San Diego Fair in Del Mar, Calif., on June 10. Charlie Neuman/San Diego Union-Tribune/Zuma Press/Newscom/File
George Ferris, whose 154th birthday is celebrated with a Valentine's Day-themed Google Doodle, didn't just come up with a new amusement park ride; he provided an opportunity for physics teachers to come up with truly terrifying scenarios.
George Ferris, whom Google praises on its home page Thursday, did more than just invent a beloved theme park ride. His eponymous wheel serves as a perfect opportunity for physics teachers to engage in two of their favorite activities: 1) revealing the simple mathematical equations that govern the motions of everything around us, and 2) coming up with horrifying thought experiments.