skip to content

The Flying Circus of Physics is a book about curious events and effects of the everyday world. This site is an extension of the book.

Spotlight story for this month: Click on the title down below here
Secondary stories for this month: Click on "News/Updates" in menu at the left
Archived stories and links (hundreds): 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F1G, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
Index to this site and the book, not only individual terms but also collections, such as "Pub physics" and "Accidents" and "Stunts": A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J-K, L, M-OP-QR, S, T-Z

Store
(books, tee shirts, mug): click on "Store" in the menu at the left
Newsletter Emailed every three months (I am the only one that can see your email address. Indeed, I am the only one that can access anything here.) Sign up in the menu at the left.
Facebook Flying Circus of Physics site (public site): my old television videos and many photos. Here is the link. Come for a visit, and consider signing up as a fan of the site.
Jay Waller stories: Physics for
Citations (over 11,000) and links (over 2000) for items in the book (pdf files):
       Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3, Chap 4, Chap 5, Chap 6, Chap 7
A random sample from the book appears at lower right each time you come to this site.

----  Jearl Walker
ps. If the biplane at the top of the page doesn't have sound and motion, download the free flash player from Adobe.com.

Flying Circus of Physics SpotlightFlying Circus of Physics Spotlight

Nimitz Freeway collapse
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Just before the third game of the 1989 baseball World Series was to begin in Oakland, California, an earthquake erupted 100 kilometers away. When the seismic waves hit the Oakland area, a long stretch of the Nimitz Freeway collapsed, dropping an upper deck onto a lower deck. However, the rest of the freeway, with similar construction, did not collapse. What was so different about the failed portion?

Flying Circus of Physics SampleFlying Circus of Physics Sample

Cocktail-party effect

In a small party with people standing and talking in pairs, each member of a pair stands at a “socially acceptable” distance from the other and the two can hear each other without any trouble. However, as the density of people in the room increases, why does hearing become more difficult, and what does each member of a pair do in response? Why can a voice still be distinguished? You might notice these same effects in many other environments, such as a noisy restaurant or subway car. MORE

book

Designed by Optiem   Powered by Bonfire™ CMS