Topical Mechanics Problems

In writing the homework problems for my first-year Mathematical Physics module I was sorely tempted to include some political references but I restrained myself in order not to cause any offence. That doesn’t stop me posting some examples here, however, so here are three examples of the sort of thing I had in mind:

  1. Arlene and Boris arrange to have a secret meeting near the Irish British Border. Arlene drives a car at 20 mph along a straight road that takes her within one mile of a customs post where Boris is waiting. Boris has a bicycle on which his top speed is 12 mph and he wishes to leave the customs post at the last possible minute to intercept Arlene. How far away is Arlene when Boris leaves the customs post, and how far must Boris cycle to meet her?
  2. Donald falls 200m from the top floor of Trump Tower. Neglecting air resistance, what is Donald’s velocity when he hits the ground? Assuming he has a mass of 200 kg and he is brought to rest by the impact, what is the energy dissipated? Is this likely to cause serious damage (to the sidewalk)?
  3. Jacob is reclining on a bench in the House of Commons with his head against an arm rest. The coefficient of static friction between Jacob and the armrest is 0.3 and between Jacob and the seat it is 0.4. Assuming that Jacob is infinitely thin, one-dimensional and entirely rigid, calculate the minimum angle he can make with the bench without slipping.

You may wish to refer to Fig 1 and Fig 2 here.

One Response to “Topical Mechanics Problems”

  1. jonivar skullerud Says:

    Go for it! Could it be any worse than my journalist throwing a shoe at a president, or the Taliban fighters firing at a US aircraft?

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