Classical Mechanics Puzzle
January 30, 2012
Michael L. Broide, Associate Professor and Chair of Physics, and Norman Paris, a former Visiting Assistant Professor, published their analysis of an intriguing physics problem involving the coupled motion of two blocks. Their paper was the second-most read AJP article in December 2011.
Which Block Wins?
Block 1 sits on a frictionless table and is connected by a string to block 2. When block 2 is released, it swings toward the table. Simultaneously, block 1 slides toward the pulley. Will block 1 hit the pulley before or after block 2 hits the side of the table? The blocks are identical and start from rest equidistant from the pulley. See American Journal of Physics for the answer and the details.