Newton, Knives and Friends ( A Sharp Piece of Advice)

Newton, Knives and Friends ( A Sharp Piece of Advice) 

Recently, my mind was blown away by the first half of "The Elegant Universe", a book by Brian Greene on the Superstring Theory. 

Why the FIRST half only? Because it sums up some great "discoveries" of classical field physics and of quantum physics as well. It's a wonderful crash course on the main insights of the last centuries in physics and explains with clarity why there is a clash between the Quantum and Classifcal fields  in physics. Then it presents the Superstring Theory as a possible avenue to resolve the conflicts between the two fields.

It was refreshing to be reminded how much creative insight and funky-thinking there is involved in theoretical science. (the second part, in my non-scientifical opinion, got too technical and we don't have sufficient technology to test out 99% of the ifs and maybes proposed, so that is where I left the book) 

But then this small opening into the physics world lead me to even more existential questions (sing it! : " the more I see the less I know" ) .
So my Skype conversation with a dear friend studying environmental science seemed to be the best moment to clarify some calculations that were troubling me. I decided to ask him some guidance over a subject every normal person should worry about : 


" Say somebody throws at knife at me at a speed of 20 ft/s but I start running away at a speed of 8 ft/s, then the knife is actually approaching me at a speed of 12ft/s. Right? 
- Right.
- So how long do I need to run at this speed to avoid the knife hitting me? Because at one point the knife will fall to the ground due to gravitational pull, yes?  So what additional information do I need to know other than the speed of the knife in order to calculate this? 
- So you would need to know [ ... ] but honestly it would be way easier for you to just step aside. "

I love how my friends can broaden my perspective in the most unexpected ways.

Leave a comment

    Please or register to post.

    Add comment