It's not just you. Toast really does land buttered-side-down most of the time, and now science has proved it â with a simple, but frustrating, experiment that won an Ig Nobel Prize. Discover the physics of why the universe hates you. Or, at least, why the universe hates breakfast.

Some Ig Nobel Prizes involve simple experiments conducted in a rush. Not so this one. In order to prove that toast lands buttered-side-down when it drops, Aston University's Robert Matthews got a thousand children to conduct 21,000 toast drops. He proved not only that it is possible to use child labor in such a way that it seems whimsical and sweet, but that the toast, spiraling through space as it drops off the edge of a table or a plate, will land butter-side-down sixty-two percent of the time. Some experiments show an even higher rate of buttered floor than that.

There are a couple of ways to get around this. One is a very slow push, and the other is a very fast one. A slow push changes the position of the toast as it goes over the edge. It will change its original position, tipping slightly, teetering on a slant before it starts the roll over off the edge of the table. It is now not falling from a butter-side-up position. It's falling from a 'butter-side-slant' position, and that changes things.

On the other hand, launching the toast out like it's doing a ski jump will also tilt the odds in favor of butter-side-up. This is because a launched toast doesn't tumble. When a toast goes off the edge of a table or plate, it generally does so at a speed that lets the leading edge of the toast feel the unsupported pull of gravity longer than the following edge does. This causes the leading edge to dip while the following edge is still supported. When it finally falls, the toast goes into a roll. A toast that's been pushed quickly off a table doesn't roll as fast, because the leading edge has been pulled down for a shorter time period compared to the following edge. It will dip, slightly, but not roll entirely, in the time it has falling from the table to the floor, and so it will be more likely to land butter-side-up.