Say Cheese #1: Challenge Accepted!

A bit of a challenge is always good. So I have decided to set myself one, which I intend to help motivate me to gain a new skill. That new skill is photography.

The challenge is to post up and blog about a photo I have taken, once a week (initially). As my back catalogue of photos isn’t particularly extensive, I will run out of pics pretty quickly! This will force me to do something I have been meaning to do for ages, learn all the technical stuff involved with photography.

The photos may not always be science related, but I will strive to attempt to get some science in there no matter how tenuous the link is!

So, here we go…number 1:

Click for the full image

This photo was taken from the top of the Empire State Building looking south at the night lights of Manhattan. So, now time for a little bit of science to go along with this. The science question is, will a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building really kill/maim someone on the ‘side-walk’ below? The answer, unsurprisingly is no.

This oft quoted fact has been dis-proven so many times that I would hope that it isn’t viewed as a fact by anyone. Because, the fact of the matter it is likely to  hurt a little bit. But, it is unlikely to cause any major damage to you. This is because pennies generate a lot of aerodynamic resistance as they fall. As a result, they have a rather low terminal velocity of 100mph which it will reach in about 10 seconds. This coupled with the low weight of the penny (about 1 g) means that it will be able to impart about 1.35 J of energy on impact and as described in my previous post depending on the area of the skull 14.1 – 68.5 J would be needed to fracture it.

So there we have it, a photo and a bit of science.


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