Fractured Physics

©1996



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The following are real questions and answers. Numbers 1-10 are from Physics tests taken in May of 1996 at Hackensack High school in Hackensack, NJ.  Number 11 is from a homework assignment at JFK elementary school in Wayne NJ.  It was given to Miss McKay's fourth grade class on January 27, 1999.


1) Which type of particles can be accelerated with a Van de Graaff generator? Which cannot? Why?

Particles with open minds who believe in the existance of Van de Graaff generators are open to the power of such a generator, but sceptical particles who refuse to believe will not be affected.


2) What are some of the advantaged of a Van de Graaff generator?

A Van de Graaff generator is fairly easy to spell and not too difficult to draw.


3) How can particles be made to travel in circular paths?

In order to make particles travel in circular paths, drive them around in circles or simply let them ride the carousel.


4) What modification makes a cyclotron into a synchrocyclotron? Why is this done?

Add the prefix "synchro". This is done to add to the frustration of physics students who already have too many things to memorize.


5) How does a synchrotron accelerate protons to an energy of 1000 GeV?

It pushes them really fast.


6) Why are drift tubes not all the same length in the accelerator?

They want to be unique and they take pride in their individuality.


7)What are some advantages linear accelerators have over circular accelerators?

The particles don't get dizzy.


8) What is Gut?

The protrusion on a fat man's body that is around the mid-abdominal area.

9) Who is James Joyce? How is he related to particle physics?

He funded Sesame Street which made us smart and spurred us to think and take physics.


10) Discuss and explain the four conservation laws.

-Conservation of heat: Room 416 is always too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
-Conservation of light: A smart man shuts off the lights so that he can save money.
-Conservation of money: When money is conserved, you can spend it another day.
-Conservation of gas: The use of fossil fuels raises CO2 levels and will kill us all.


11) Most people would agree that wind turbines offer benefits as an energy source for producing electricity. Identify a problem in using wind turbines as a source of energy.

The wind can blow cows away.

* Answers to questions numbers 1-7 provided by D. Parent. Answers to questions numbers 8-10 provided by D.Thomas Grigsby. Answer to question 11 provided by 9 -year-old Maria.


*****Special thanks to Dr. Robert Kern Curtiswho provided us with those questions and who's probally wondering how we passed his class.******

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