When most of us think of boomerangs, we imagine somebody (quite possibly a cartoon character) throwing a banana-shaped stick that eventually turns around and comes right back to the thrower's hand (possibly after hitting another cartoon character in the head). This idea is simply amazing, and as children, our first reaction to such a device was: This stick is obviously possessed with magical powers! Of course, the person or people who discovered the boomerang hadn't actually found a magical stick, but they had come upon an amazing application of some complex laws of physics.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll break down the physical principles that make boomerangs work, see what happens as a boomerang flies through the air and find out the proper way to throw a boomerang so that it comes back to you. We'll also delve a little into the history of boomerangs to see how they came about in the first place. Boomeranging is an amazing demonstration of scientific principles as well as a terrific sport you can enjoy all by yourself.