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Tag Archives: Physics

How to Deconstruct a Football Tackle With Physics

Few things herald Thanksgiving as loudly as turkeys, flight delays, and long hours in front of the TV watching football. It’s an important time in the football calendar, with the playoffs beginning to shape up for both college football and the NFL. But what about those impacts? I don’t mind ...

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The Insane Physics of Airbags

I can imagine the meeting: A dozen engineers are gathered around a conference table to discuss automobile safety. How can we protect people during a car crash? We have already added seat belts and crumple zones to cars. Is there anything else we can include? One attendee reluctantly raises their ...

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The Physics of Catching a Gnarly 80-Foot-Tall Wave

I’ve never been surfing—but I’m willing to give it a try. I would not, however, be interested in attempting to surf a massive wave like this one off the coast of Portugal. That’s a pass for me. Of course even if you don’t surf, there is still some cool physics ...

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The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in *The Expanse*

The Expanse should just change their post credits for each episode to include a list of homework questions. Seriously—there are so many great things to explore in this hard science fiction show. In a recent episode, one of the large spaceships (the Navoo) rotates in order to create artificial gravity ...

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The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine

[embedded content] Perpetual motion—it’s fun to say that. For some people, perpetual motion machines hold the secret to everlasting free energy that will save the world. To them, it’s a machine that is just beyond our grasp. If only we could tweak our design just a little bit, it would ...

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The Wild Physics of a Firefighter’s Window Catch

[embedded content] Are superheroes real? Maybe. In this recently released video, a firefighter in Latvia catches a man falling past a window. Let me tell you something. I have a fairly reasonable understanding of physics and this catch looks close to being impossible—but it’s real. Here is the situation (as ...

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The Physics of Accelerating Spacecraft in *The Expanse*

[embedded content] If you like science fiction, I can recommend a show for you—The Expanse. It takes place in the not-so-distant future all right here in our own solar system. There are no pew-pew lasers or faster-than-light space travel. When humans are on a spacecraft, they either “float” around or ...

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