Gas station without pumps

2012 April 20

The Cyrano question

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:26
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Greg Jacobs provides an interesting question for physics classes on his blog Jacobs Physics: Literary Physics: The Cyrano question.

Cyrano de Bergerac, in the play by Edmond Rostand, claims to have invented six methods of reaching the moon.  Five of these are listed below.  Select the one that has a physically sound basis.
  1. “Adorn my form with crystal vials filled with morning dew, and so be drawn aloft as the sun rises.”
  2. “Sealing up the air in a cedar chest, rarefy it by means of mirrors placed in an icosahedron.”
  3. “Construct the form of a huge locust, driven upward by leaps and bounds by impulses due to pellets of saltpeter ejected from the rear.”
  4. “Smoke, having a natural tendency to rise, blow in a globe enough to raise me.”
  5. “Seated on an iron plate, I hurl a magnet in the air—the iron follows—I catch the magnet—throw again—and so proceed indefinitely.”

He is not sure where the question came from originally (guessing the Tipler 3rd edition test bank) and is soliciting more physics questions from literary sources.

I’m sorry that I can’t help him out, as I think it is an amusing concept for generating questions.

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