The answer can be found in the form of a paper published in the May 2005 issue of the journal Applied Physics A.
The authors of the paper, Mark D. D. Schreiber and Brian C. Schieber, presented a detailed simulation showing how an ice skater’s body accelerates by the inverse square law at the rate of 2 x 10(9/8) m/s^2.
The speed of a bullet is equal to 2 x 10(9/8), plus the gravity force, that accelerates it by the inverse square law.
The authors noted that in their study, the coefficient of friction in an ice skating rink is less than 1. So the motion of a small ice skater under acceleration (the paper’s headline, for the record, was “Ice Skater’s Body Accelerates on Its Own”) is much heavier than a bullet with constant acceleration, which the authors believe has no friction.
They also found that ice skaters’ bodies actually do not appear to have a large centrifugal force, so they were not going faster than their speed would indicate.
As Professor D.C. Blaine of Georgia Institute of Technology pointed out in the interview, this is not exactly new information.
“We see such things in all of physics that is not physics.”
Is this a good or bad thing?
The authors of the paper acknowledge the challenges associated with proving all phenomena to be true, but they conclude:
“I think that the most important thing is that you learn to do science not only with facts, but the best available evidence. If something is interesting, and if one believes the evidence from the evidence, then one should be able to say with reasonable certainty it is true. Of course, no one can look at the real world the same way in all cases.”
For Blaine, that doesn’t stop scientists from accepting information about the world around them, even if that has implications for how they conduct research.
“There’s a lot we just don’t know. That’s the real challenge.”
“We like science to look like science.”
Science News. (2010, Nov. 20). Scientists find ice skater levitates by inverse square law. Science Daily, Scientific American.
Rudolf M. Vann
The most influential American economist of the last 100 years. R.V.V. is one of the best known of
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