Thursday, March 23, 2006

Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer.

The following concerns a question on a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:
"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer, which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought.
The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:
"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H =0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sq. root (l/g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane ever to win the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Moral from this story : Sometimes you have silly ideas , but at least it's original and it's yours

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On an Island?

If you are a Die hard fan of Pink Floyd, that is a must have album by David Gilmour, But let me warn you... This is not an album by Pink Floyd, This is an Album by Former member/Solo Artist David Gilmour, and after I heard the album for 3 consecutive days, It's has very little to do with Pink Floyd.

I had this album 2 weeks after I had David Gilmour in Concert (DVD) "which frankly, I much prefer than his new solo album”, In concert features a lot of Pink Floyd song with new arrangements, like the acoustic version of "Coming back to life" and the Chellos of "High hopes". So I was Forced in comparison between the 2 albums , On an island is unique in a way that only fans of Gilmour understand, it's an improved development since "About Face", His 1983 solo album, but not quiet different or diverse than it. I won't discus the album thoroughly, But I have to spell this out; I'm both relieved & disappointed, Relieved to see Dave active after almost a decade of hibernation yet disappointed that I’d rather see him, Rick and Nick get to the studio , come out 2 or 3 years later with a mind blowing Pink album , and after seeing Live8 , I thought there was still hope for Roger to re-join the band and re-write history again , but Alas , Roger had his opera later this year and Dave with his new album.

Bottom line, Go BUY the Album, you won't regret it... but you may get hurt listing to what could have been the next Pink Floyd, Not in term of music .. But in terms of "If Only if?".