Pulling one end of a chain of beads from a beaker and letting it fall down on the floor creates a fascinating gravity-defying phenomenon called a “chain fountain” where the chain mysteriously rises by several inches before going down. But why is it doing that? James Gorman of the New York Times explains:
When you pick up one end of a rod, two things happen. One end goes up, and the other end goes down, or tries to. But if the downward force is stopped by the pile of chain beneath it, there is a kind of kickback, and the rod, or link, is pushed upward. That is what makes the chain rise.