Why is SumToZero’s simulation software called Gomboc?

When first used within Emirates Team New Zealand, it was simply known as “Dan’s VPP”. As its use grew, it clearly needed its own identity. Dan spent a weekend trying to come up with a catchy name, but the one he chose was ridiculed by the team, and will never be mentioned again!

“So, what should we call it?” he asked. Steve Collie, an aerodynamics engineer in the team, did some Googling. He looked for something cool and unique relating to an equilibrium solution, and pronounced that it should be called “Gomboc”! The name stuck.

As defined at gomboc.eu, the ‘Gömböc’ is the first known homogenous object with one stable and one unstable equilibrium point, thus two equilibria altogether on a horizontal surface. It can be proven that no object with less than two equilibria exists.