Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Bang Science

Well, I was about to create a post devoted to answering the sheer minefield of Scientific queries raised by the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately a real physicist who writes the science in the script has already explained himself in his blog, so I'll just post this link and call it a day. No, I intend to criticize his explanation of S03E22: The Staircase Implementation. I believe that the rocket fuel should have been added to the model rocket before adding the catalyst as a safety precaution. After all the reaction would theoretically start as soon as any amount of catalyst is added. Technically the catalyst should have only been added when the rocket was ready for launch. His use of the square-cube law only means that the fuel would explode nearly immediately instead of "combust"( technically it does not burn. It simply decomposes and expels huge volumes of gas and heat. Hence combust is wrong) gradually as is expected of a rocket launch. Even if it were non-explosive a slowly "combusting" bottle of fuel is still pretty dangerous.

Secondly I criticize the show itself since an applied physicist of any standing could never make such a simple mistake- imagine the problems that could happen to an actual space launch. On the other hand I love the concept of exposing people to physics so I forgive you guys.

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