Valentine’s Day is notorious for raising the stress levels of countless people. Preparation for February 14th is filled with mixed emotions and increased tension. This year was no different for me, but for nontraditional reasons.
Stressed about boys? No chance. Unless you count Dr. Summy for giving me a physics test on Valentine’s Day.
If I were a physics professor planning on giving a physics test on Valentine’s Day, I would most definitely have some fun with it. Here is my sample test:
Section number: ___________
Gender (circle one): M / F
Relationship status (circle one):
“talking” forever alone
1. If Julio (6 feet 2 inches tall, 185 lbs) falls for Natasha (5 feet 4 inches) with an initial velocity of 22 inches/second, what force must Natasha apply to catch him? If she doesn’t want him, what is his velocity when he hits the ground? Show all work.
2. Shreya has a mass of 140 lbs and the boy she has a crush on weighs 155 lbs and is standing 15 feet away. Using Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, what is the attractive force between them?
3. Keshan and Dante are fighting over Estefanie. Keshan is standing on a surface with a coefficient of friction of .23 and pulls Estefanie’s arm with a force of 10 Newtons. Dante is standing on a surface with a coefficient of friction of .38 and pulls with a force of 14 Newtons. Which one successfully pulls Estephanie (who is on a frictionless surface between the two) to himself, or do they both fall down trying? Explain your reasoning.
4. Kayeesha and Beauregard are trying to outdo each other’s Valentine’s presents. If Kayeesha can lift with a force of 22 Newtons, does she need a ramp to lift a present weighing 100 kg up 3 feet? If Beauregard can lift with a force of 19 Newtons, does he need a ramp to lift a present weighing 95 kg up 3.2 feet? Draw a free body diagram and label every possible force in the universe acting on it.
When you are finished, return your test to your TA and leave quietly.
If those questions don’t lift your Valentine’s Day spirits, I don’t know what will.
I made sure when I wrote it I included all the staples of a good textbook/test question:
1. Ethnic sounding names. You can’t have suburban white kids in your problems. Ever. Unless they are weaker than the foreign kid. Or have a wrong answer. Either one really.
2. Girls must be stronger than boys. Is it discrimination if we always assume the usually oppressed group is now superior? Nah.
3. Phrases like “Explain your reasoning.” No good test was ever produced without at least a couple ambiguous phrases on it, right?
4. Pathetic attempts at “real world” situations. I mean, if I wanted to know how long a pond is I would lay two equilateral triangles over it instead of using a measuring tape… wouldn’t I?
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Just remember, you could be so lonely you spend your day coming up with bizarre, totally obscure physical science questions.