Physics humour
TOPIC id: 84671
Replies: 7 - Views: 422
86878 Akhil1292 2011-07-02 14:52:33

Sir Ernest Rutherford, President of
the Royal Academy, and recipient of
the Nobel Prize in Physics, related
the following story:
"Some time ago I received a call
from a colleague. He was about to
give a student a zero for his answer
to a physics question, while the
student claimed a perfect score. The
instructor and the student agreed to
an impartial arbiter, and I was
I read the examination question:
"Show how it is possible to
determine the height of a tall
building with the aid of a
The student had answered: "Take
the barometer to the top of the
building,attach a long rope to it,
lower it to the street, and then bring
it up, measuring the length of the
rope. The length of the rope is the
height of the building."
The student really had a strong case
for full credit since he had really
answered the question completely
and correctly! On the other hand, if
full credit were given, it could well
contribute to a high grade in his
physics course and certify
competence in physics, but the
answer did not confirm this. I
suggested that the student have
another try. I gave the student six
minutes to answer the question
with the warning that the answer
should show some knowledge of
At the end of five minutes, he hadn't
written anything. I asked if he
wished to give up, but he said he
had many answers to this problem;
he was just thinking of the best one.
I excused myself for interrupting
him and asked him to please go on.
In the next minute, he dashed off
his answer, which read: "Take the
barometer to the top of the building
and lean over the edge of the roof.
Drop the barometer, timing its fall
with a stopwatch.
Then, using the formula
x=0.5*a*t^2, calculate the height of
the building."
At this point, I asked my colleague if
he would give up. He conceded, and
gave the student almost full credit.
While leaving my colleague's office,
I recalled that the student had said
that he had other answers to the
problem, so I asked him what they
"Well," said the student, "there are
many ways of getting the height of a
tall building with the aid of a
barometer. For example, you could
take the barometer out on a sunny
day and measure the height of the
barometer, the length of its shadow,
and the length of the shadow of the
building, and by the use of simple
proportion, determine the height of
the building."
"Fine," I said, "and others?"
"Yes," said the student, "there is a
very basic measurement method
you will like. In this method, you
take the barometer and begin to
walk up the stairs. As you climb the
stairs, you mark off the length of the
barometer along the wall. You then
count the number of marks, and his
will give you the height of the
building in barometer units."
"A very direct method."
"Of course. If you want a more
sophisticated method, you can tie
the barometer to the end of a string,
swing it as a pendulum, and
determine the value of g [gravity] at
the street level and at the top of the
From the difference between the
two values of g, the height of the
building, in principle, can be
"On this same tack, you could take
the barometer to the top of the
building, attach a long rope to it,
lower it to just above the street, and
then swing it as a pendulum. You
could then calculate the height of
the building by the period of the
"Finally," he concluded, "there are
many other ways of solving the
"Probably the best," he said, "is to
take the barometer to the basement
and knock on the superintendent's
door. When the superintendent
answers, you speak to him as
follows: 'Mr. Superintendent, here is
a fine barometer. If you will tell me
the height of the building, I will give
you this barometer."
At this point, I asked the student if
he really did not know the
conventional answer to this
question. He admitted that he did,
but said that he was fed up with high
school and college instructors trying
to teach him how to think.
The name of the student was Neils
100285 Jasmare14 2011-07-02 15:40:42

86878 Akhil1292 2011-07-02 23:27:19

Thank u
21079 SPELSTER 2011-07-05 11:50:06


86878 Akhil1292 2011-07-06 22:35:48

113226 Rakshak 2011-07-09 21:20:58

Wow my hero neils bhor


great ofcourse he is genius

opend new door of quantum mechanics and atomik feilds we shud great full to him

86878 Akhil1292 2011-07-10 09:41:48

162582 nehaDD 2012-07-23 09:48:38

Neils Bhor war a lameO ... a very lazy scientist.. never worked much.. but just because of a gifted mind.. reached that height.. and on that same not.. who is this above lameO who thinks that Bhor laid the foundation of Quantum physics..?
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