# Great Moments in Physics..

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Great Moments in Physics

The following concerns a question in 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. 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 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 sqroot (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 person from Denmark to win the Nobel prize for Physics.

Great Moments in Physics

The following concerns a question in 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. 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 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 sqroot (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 person from Denmark to win the Nobel prize for Physics.

That is a "True life story" of a Nobel laureate...

Hi:

That is a "True life story" of a Nobel laureate...

Alas, that's not the point.

It is customary, courteous and expected when borrowing VERBATIM intellectual property from other sources and authors to provide proper attribution of that source or author.

Otherwise, it could be misconstrued (by the author and by others) as misrepresentation of the content as one's own, or even plagiarism.

Thanks again,

The article is self-explanatory..

PS : Moreover I found it here..

Hi:

The article is self-explanatory..

PS : Moreover I found it here..

Great!  All that was needed was to include the source link with your post.

P.S. Whether the story is "true life" or not, and whether the extensive article is "self-explanatory" or not isn't really relevant. Moreover whether "copy/paste" of intellectual property is or is not "common" doesn't make it right or legal.  I can speed on the highway and not get a ticket, but that doesn't make it right or legal.  I can pirate software and not get caught, but that doesn't make it right or legal.  I can copy another person's essay for my college thesis, but that doesn't make it right or legal. {{EOD}}

Hi.,

An interesting happening in the "Physics" field, the reference to the Universities, on the Noble laureate, do not anyway infringe with any "intellectual property".. That there are many refernces to it, Googled, is a clear pointer to it..

When about "intellectual property", there are many aspects/sections in the forum, which would invite reference to the source for all posts.. Do they?

daledoc1 is 100% correct and your stance, sman, is wrong.

Any time someone copies another person writings;  on a topic, from a newspaper article, from software code, from test results, from statistical analysis or from any other formal writings one must show an attribution to the author.

When a person copies the text in part or in whole or reproduces graphics, renderings or findings there must be an attribution to the author or artist.  In some cases, permission must be sought and granted for the use of that material and would still require attribution.

The person who creates content has intellectual property rights over the contents they created.  People who do not give attribution to the content's creator do so out of ignorance or because they want top appear to be the creator of the content.

Your stance on IP rights and infringement are as wrong as your stance was on using "text speak".  You are in a public facing forum and when use someone else's work you must provide some fashion to show where you obtained that information ( work ) and/or who created it.

A perfect microcosmic example in the Forum is in; Windows update problems
In  Post #13Aura  gave me attribution to the script he provided because I am the author of the script.

You can thank David for creating it

My understanding.. The section in question, is meant to share "lighter" moments, unlike other serious sections, for any one's credit/benefit..

The article is meant to share a "happening" in the field of "Physics", in the life of a Noble laureate, at a renowned University, which is a "fact"..

Obviously, there are many references to it by "Google"..

In fact, this article differs from the regular stuff "freely" shared in this section, which very well would fall under "Intellectual property" but are shared "freely"..

On "text speak", there are many abbreviated forms of the language used in routine 'freely" which is accepted, like.."LOL", "IMO", "IMHO", etc. which are not part of the language vocabulary..

Pl. correct me, if I'm wrong.. Tks..

You are wrong.  You are applying untrue and unreasonable arguments for the use of another person's work.

"LOL", "IMO", "IMHO" are all acronyms.  I come from a background where not only are acronyms used to express organizational divisions, products and/or services, we would actually enunciate the acronym as if it was a word.

The rules of the English language have standards and conventions for its use.  The applicable convention is one can not use an acronym until that acronym has either been defined first or referenced at the end of the document.  In the following example I have expressed both concepts.  Not only is the acronym used but it is defined first and then used and at the end of the discussion I have referenced the source I used for the purpose of attribution to the author.

There are two basic forms of writings.  One is conversational ( informal ) and the other is more authoritative ( formal ).  In conversational communications there is an assumption of knowledge of the most common acronyms.  That assumption may be true or false but in conversational communication it is allowed to use an acronym without it being defined.  In more authoritative ( formal ) writings conventions dictates the defining the acronym prior to its use or including it in a appended Reference

If however you are in a situation where you either pose a question on a problem or propose a solution to a problem then conversational communication is not apropos and the conversation now moves into more authoritative levels.  The reason being every word is a part of the whole used to convey information.  That conveyance can't be hindered by unconventional, non-standard, writings.  One can not spend time attempting and trying interpret the components of the writings.  Time spent must be focused and concentrated on the idea ( concept ) being conveyed.  Not only are there conventions to the construction of the writings but the "audience" may dictate how the writings are to be constructed.

Example:

1A Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is a partnership between various American law enforcement agencies that is charged with taking action against terrorism, which includes the investigation of crimes such as wire fraud and identity theft. The agencies that a JTTF comprises generally include the ...

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It's a fact, that 'acronyms' gained popularity with SMS..

With a Global community of users, even popular acronyms may not be familiar to many..

"for the use of another person's work." - Whose work?

"from the regular stuff "freely" shared in this section, which very well would fall under "Intellectual property" but are shared "freely"." - Yet to hear anything on this..

Tks..

It's a fact, that 'acronyms' gained popularity with SMS..

No.

Example:  TTFN

Acronyms have existed for as long as Humans have penned their words.  Acronyms have their equivalency in Morse Code and I'll bet there are equivalent acronyms in Cuneiform, Sanskrit and even in Hieroglyphs.  SMS is just another mode of communication where acronyms have been applied due to the restrictive nature of that mode of communication.

Why type out in Morse Code "Save Our Ship" when you can do it with "SOS" [ ...---... ].

As for Post #1,  daledoc1 cited a probable source.  We don't know for sure because you failed in your duty to provide the source of that text which has lead us down this road.

In my example of the acronym JTTF I cited Wikipedia.

As an open forum, I'm still to get response to my valid queries.

1. I asked "Whose work?" - No response..

2. I asked about the earlier posts in the section, which are clear 'Intellectual property" and where no source has been called for,,, on which I'm yet to hear about..

I never questioned the existense of 'acronyms' but it's "gaining popularity" with SMS..(ref. wiki article on 'acronym')

As can be seen, SMS popularized it, which is what is the fact of the matter..

I hope there would be a proper response.. Tks..

• 3 weeks later...

Hello sman.

As David has intimated this is "beating a dead horse with a stick" and waiting for responses, but I get myself in "too deep" at times, and have learned that there is one section to read first.

That section is Terms of Use that exist on the top and bottom of every page of this and every Moderated Forum not an "open forum", as you said.

Basically it says "The Moderators and Administrators always have the last say" and you are a "Visitor" so ("Visitors to the forum agree to the terms stated below": = the first line of the ToU)

Don't get me wrong because you are always welcome here, but there are rules and manners to learn on these forums.

I have been instructed to read it "word by word" on this, and other forums, as it is basically the same all over (with only minor language changes), and I was often naughty.

End of My Opinion Only ... ( MOO ) Not sure if that exists, ( but I found it did )  .........

EDIT - This is in the Jokes section, but may be better suited to General Chat area ??

what color is the dress....

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