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Author Topic: Physics in Futurama  (Read 1863 times)
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SaltySeaSnax

Crustacean
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« on: 11-06-2005 18:25 »

Every marking period in my physics class we have to do something called 'student teaching' in which we apply  a concept we recently learned in class to our everyday lives and present it to the rest of the students. We are currently learning about Newton's three laws and I decided to link them to Futurama.

One example that immediately comes to mind is when Bender was shot out of the torpedo launcher in Godfellas. This demonstrates the frist law (An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force) perfectly.

I was wondering if anyone could think of any other examples I could use. Keep in mind I want clips, not episodes, scenes, etc. We haven't spent as much time on law #3 as the other 2, so try to avoid it if possible. They need to be light on swearing (an occasional 'hell' or 'damn' will fly), easy to understand, and most of all: easy to explain.

Thank you VERY much to anyone who helps me out. My presentation is on Wednesday so time is a factor. Thanks again. later

Teral

Helpy McHelphelp
DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #1 on: 11-06-2005 18:49 »

You can use the same clip to demonstrate Newton's Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

As Bender throws the first piece of swag the reaction cause him to start spinning. Additional swag gradually stop his rotation and momentum.

I guess you can even use it to demonstrate the Second Law: "Force = mass * acceleration". Even though Bender throw some of the swag away forcefully it only reduce his spinning/momentum with a fraction since Bender's mass is so much bigger than any individual piece of mass.

Boltzmann_Fan

Delivery Boy
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« Reply #2 on: 11-06-2005 19:15 »
« Last Edit on: 11-06-2005 19:15 »

You could use the clip from "A Pharoah to Remember" to illustrate the third law - when Bender is in space, whips one of his slaves, and starts floating backwards due to the reaction force. 

Edit: Just thought of another physics related scene - the one in "Kif Gets Knocked up a Notch" when they're in the "cross species DNA analyzer" (the spinning thing) and Leela, Amy, etc. are pressed up against the sides.  That example could be used to illustrate the first law or second law.  First law because the reason that they get pressed up against the side is because at any given instant their tangential velocity is pointed in one direction and they want to continue to move in that direction, but the moving wall keeps  that from happening.  Second law because the wall exerts a force on them to keep them moving in a circle (they need to have a constant centripetal acceleration towards the  center of the circle).
Eyedol7513

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #3 on: 11-07-2005 01:23 »

God damn, why didn't my Physics teacher make us do this? Anyway, I forgot what the 2nd law is. Anyone here kind enough to tell me what it is?
Boltzmann_Fan

Delivery Boy
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« Reply #4 on: 11-07-2005 03:34 »

the second law is F = ma (Force = mass*acceleration)
H. G. Blob

Professor
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« Reply #5 on: 11-07-2005 04:15 »

In "Luck of the Fryrish", when they're at the tracks the professor states "No fair, you changed an outcome by measuring it" And I listened to the audio commentary and David Cohen said something like "...thats true, because you can't measure and object without affecting its value.."

It wasn't any of Newtons laws, it was some other German guy. I dunno.

I'll tell you what. I'll accept their apoligy when they kiss my ass, which I don't have.
Teral

Helpy McHelphelp
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« Reply #6 on: 11-07-2005 06:20 »

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

SaltySeaSnax

Crustacean
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« Reply #7 on: 11-07-2005 14:54 »

Thanks a lot for the help. Keep the ideas coming!
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #8 on: 11-07-2005 18:14 »

The First Law is also demonstrated nicely by the way that Bender is yanked back on his safety harness in TKOS, whilst attempting to maneouvre the doomsday device into position. He stops, but the bomb that he was carrying forwards keeps moving, and he has to reach for it. He is acted upon by a force (the rope), but as he lets go of the bomb which was sharing his forward momentum, it carries on moving.
Teral

Helpy McHelphelp
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« Reply #9 on: 11-07-2005 18:28 »

Another example: Roswell Tht Ends Well

When the PE ship crash lands in Roswell and come to an abrupt halt, Bender continue moving forward, through the windshield and into the desert. First Law again.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #10 on: 11-07-2005 18:33 »

If you're wanting real life examples, you could use that as a reason why you should always wear a seatbelt.
asimov

Bending Unit
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« Reply #11 on: 11-09-2005 08:27 »

one thing i always found to be slightly unbeleviable was in the episode where fry goes into space on the 2nd episode. the one where he asks leela if he can do the countdown, yet they get from earth to the moon in like half a second. if that really happened they would have to accelerate to the speed of light (or faster, considering the moon is about 300000km away or thereabouts, and the fact that farnsowrth said the speed of light has been increased) and then deeacellerate within the space of a half second means they would be slammed into bits, but they don't even seem to notice it!??11111
Teral

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« Reply #12 on: 11-09-2005 08:36 »

That's because the engines doesn't move the ship, they move the Universe around the ship.

Alternatively: Inertia Damping Field.

Welcome to PEEl, asimove. Enjoy it here. Please don't do the 1's.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #13 on: 11-09-2005 11:44 »
« Last Edit on: 11-09-2005 11:44 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Teral:
Alternatively: Inertia Damping Field.
@ asimov:
In BBA Leela mentioned that the ship has a "Gravity Pump."
Presumably, this would protect the innards of the ship from the ridiculously high accelerations involved.

Oh, and just in case no one has said it yet;
Welcome to P.E.E.L.! Enjoy your stay here.
Some of us have sharp teeth, but we're mostly harmless.  wink

P.E.E.L: A more vile hive of nerds and geekery you will not find...
SaltySeaSnax

Crustacean
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« Reply #14 on: 11-09-2005 20:49 »

Thanks for the suggestions. My presentation went perfect, I got a 100% on it. I had people I had never spoken to in my life tell me how good it was. "How'd you find such good examples?" they asked. All I said was "I have my sources."

Oh yeah, I totally turned my teacher into a fan. He was laughing more than anyone else in the class. He said he was 'definitely' going to check out the DVDs himself. Do the math: four volumes at about 30 bucks each equals 120 more dollars towards the show coming back! Thanks again. later
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #15 on: 11-10-2005 13:49 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by SaltySeaSnax:
... I totally turned my teacher into a fan... said he was 'definitely' going to check out the DVDs...

  big grin

Ah, another conver to the cause.

Good boy!

I hope your teacher's enthusiasm is reflected in your grade...  wink
asimov

Bending Unit
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« Reply #16 on: 11-11-2005 10:53 »

in the case of the whole universe moving around the ship, wouldn't the universe undergo a huge force? there no gravity pump protecting it  wink.

also, happy to join the forums all!
Fry Bum

Crustacean
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« Reply #17 on: 11-11-2005 12:08 »

Bring on the ideas man!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
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« Reply #18 on: 11-11-2005 14:08 »

yeah that would be one huge ass force.  The mass of the universe is estimated to be about 9.07*10^53 kg.  If the average dist between the moon and Earth is 384,400 km, and it took the PE ship 2 seconds to get there, that corresponds to an accelaration of 1.922*10^8 m/s^2.  Force = mass * acceleration => F = 9.07*10^53kg * 1.922*10^8m/s^2 = 1.74*10^62N.  Then that same force is created to slow the universe down again.  Thats a total force of 3.49*10^62N.  Thats, uh, 349 novemdecillion Newtons.
Jaswahhihi

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #19 on: 11-11-2005 14:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
The mass of the universe is estimated to be about 9.07*10^53 kg.

Whoooh! how can that be right?? Cant the universe go on to infinity? Or are you considering what we can see, or some other crazy high level physics thingy?

Boltzmann_Fan

Delivery Boy
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« Reply #20 on: 11-11-2005 17:45 »

I think the theory is that the universe is finite, but expanding - so it'd have a mass. Not sure how you'd go about calculating that though...
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
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« Reply #21 on: 11-11-2005 19:18 »

it has something to do with the intensity cosmic microwave background radiation.  You can use that to infer a relatively flat universe, which requires a mass of about 9.07*10^53kg.  I dont know why its true, other than my physics professor told me so. 
Teral

Helpy McHelphelp
DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #22 on: 11-11-2005 19:20 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
yeah that would be one huge ass force.  The mass of the universe is estimated to be about 9.07*10^53 kg.  If the average dist between the moon and Earth is 384,400 km, and it took the PE ship 2 seconds to get there, that corresponds to an accelaration of 1.922*10^8 m/s^2.  Force = mass * acceleration => F = 9.07*10^53kg * 1.922*10^8m/s^2 = 1.74*10^62N.  Then that same force is created to slow the universe down again.  Thats a total force of 3.49*10^62N.  Thats, uh, 349 novemdecillion Newtons.

It's a really, really, really good engine ... with 200% fuel efficiency.
asimov

Bending Unit
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« Reply #23 on: 11-12-2005 05:32 »

Another problem i found was one of the proffesers and leelas statements. first the proffeser says that becuase interstellar travel was so hard they increased the speed of light, and then leela said the ship can go 99% light speed (the episode teenage mutant leela's hurdles where thr prof is going slow on the freeway). now assuming that they could go at 99% light speed the general theory of relativity presents some problems. first a mass of 1kg travel at 99% light speed has its relative mass increased to about 7kg, meaaning the ship would weigh HEAPS more and would therefore require HEAPS more energry to go that fast and slow down, even if it is 200 efficent. next because they are going so fast, even if in their own relative time frames they travel for 1 week at 99$ light speed, time dialtioan could mean that people on earth age many years. but hey, it's just a cartoon what does it matter  smile
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #24 on: 11-12-2005 10:55 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by asimov:... it's just a cartoon what does it matter   smile
Not one whit!
I means we're all Science Fiction geeks!

<Bubblegum Tate>
Deal with it!
</Bubblegum Tate>
  big grin
YeOReO

Crustacean
*
« Reply #25 on: 11-12-2005 11:30 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by SaltySeaSnax:
Thanks for the suggestions. My presentation went perfect, I got a 100% on it. I had people I had never spoken to in my life tell me how good it was. "How'd you find such good examples?" they asked. All I said was "I have my sources."


Congrats!
Unknown

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #26 on: 11-12-2005 18:30 »

Regarding the ship's engines:

Who ever said they had to move the entire universe?  Maybe they just move a small part of the universe right around the ship.
Jaswahhihi

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #27 on: 11-12-2005 18:49 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Unknown:
Regarding the ship's engines:

Who ever said they had to move the entire universe?  Maybe they just move a small part of the universe right around the ship.

Lol! Now I understand!

asimov

Bending Unit
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« Reply #28 on: 11-12-2005 22:17 »

 
Quote
I means we're all Science Fiction geeks!

i hear that! i take back what i said :P

Professy

Bending Unit
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« Reply #29 on: 11-12-2005 22:54 »

I wish i could get one of my teachers onto Futurama.  frown
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #30 on: 10-26-2006 11:06 »

Fact of the matter is that in a number of Quantum tunnelling experiments conducted a few years ago the speed of light WAS broken. By 1.7 times, in fact. A partical stream fired through a block of concrete 'borrowed' energy from the surrounding matter in order to 'tunnel' through it, and it broke the speed of light.

I never really took Farnsworth seriously when he said they'd increased the speed of light, unless it referred to the area directly surrounding the spacecraft. How do you increase a Universal Constant universally?
You can't. The very fabric of reality would be altered with unpredictible results. If light speed was increased then the visible spectrum's relative wave frequency would be increased also, turning normal sunlight into deadly gamma radiation because, while the actual frequency wouldn't change, the *relative* frequency will still be increased, ie: the rate at which EM waves 'impact' a point in space, thus making any fixed point experience normal light as hard radiation. In fact, the visible spectrum would probably no longer exist under normal circumstances so you wouldn't be able to see anything, and stepping outside into the sun'light' would result in fatal radiation poisoning.
Obviously this is not the case in the Futurama Universe, so I'm led to believe the alteration of lightspeed is actually localized around the FTL vessels; a relativistic bubble that surrounds them, or even just their engine mechanism, meaning that they aren't breaking the SoL inside the bubble, but outside of it they are actually travelling many times the Sol.

Everything is relative.
if you were to increase the speed of light you would also have to uniformly increase the various wavelengths of the electro-magnetic spectrum if you wanted to avoid being turned into a human fritter.
Tim B

Bending Unit
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« Reply #31 on: 10-26-2006 11:55 »
« Last Edit on: 10-26-2006 11:55 »

   
Quote
Posted By coldangel_1
so I'm led to believe the alteration of lightspeed is actually localized around the FTL vessels; a relativistic bubble that surrounds them, or even just their engine mechanism, meaning that they aren't breaking the SoL inside the bubble, but outside of it they are actually travelling many times the Sol.

Normally, I'd agree with an explaination along those lines, however, I'm attempting to base my argument on what I believe the writer's intentions were(based on the episodes and commentaries), so I'm going to try and argue that the speed of light was increased univerally.

First, what differetiates electromagnetic waves?  Radio waves have different properties than X-rays and Gamma-rays.  Obviously, these rays have different wavelengths, frequencies, and energies, but they all have the same velocity(speed of light). 
Now we know that frequency(f) is a funtion of the speed of light(c) and wavelength(lambda), 
             f=(c)/(lambda).
Energy(E) is a funcion of frequency,
             E = (h) * (f)
             where h is Plank's constant.
Now say you increase c(the speed of light). Here's where things get interesting.  Which brings me back to my first question, what differentiates Electromagnetic waves?
Let's say their different properties are based on wavelength.  Then when the speed of light is increased, all electromagnetic waves will retain their properties(visible light will remain visible), but they will all have a higher energy content than normal, which would cause deadly radiation.

But what if the factor, which determines the properties of electromagnetic waves, is the frequency and, thus, their energy content?(Which I believe to be more likely.)  Then when the speed of light is increased all electromagnetic waves would lose there previous properties(visible light will no longer be visible) and they will emit higher levels of radiation.  But if you were to increase the wavelengths of all electromagnetic waves at the same time you increase the speed of light?(I don't think this is too far fetched.  If they can increase the speed of light why can't they increase electromagnetic wavelengths?)  Then the frequency and energy content of the electromagnetic waves would drop and the radiation would no longer be deadly.  Also, if electromagnetic properties are based on energy content, then all electromagnetic waves would retain their original properties(visible light would remain visible).

If I had to decide I would claim that energy content is what determines the properties of electromagnetic waves and differentiates a gamma wave from, say, a radio wave.  I don't know the actual answer and I haven't been able to find an answer on the internet.  If anyone knows whether the property of an electromagnetic wave is determined by it's wavelength or energy content, please chime in!
dawoodz
Starship Captain
****
« Reply #32 on: 10-26-2006 15:59 »
« Last Edit on: 10-26-2006 15:59 »

I think I have a scene for the 2nd law:

The formula used can also be switched around and you can say that a = f/m (aceleration = force/mass)

In "Kif gets knocked up a notch" when they are trying to find out who the mother is some people get ejected from the spinning invention that Farnsworth made. You can comment that the acceleration out through the tube is subject to their mass and force.

It's the best I can think of anyway.
Apple Tea

Bending Unit
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« Reply #33 on: 10-26-2006 16:58 »

I remember something from quantum physics about when traveling at speeds near the speed of light, time and the length you travel is different.

I remember doing a problem on a a particle accelerator in which the particles going from one point to another would all atomically decay by the time it gets there if we calculated it normally.  But if we took the speed it traveled at into consideration, we could either make the tunnel length shorter or the time shorter to accomodate this.  It's kinda like having a meterstick flying towards you and it appears shorter in length (or when it goes away, it'll look longer)

My point is this, if they traveled from point to point at speeds near the speed of light, the distances may actually be shorter than u think.
fryandlemon

Bending Unit
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« Reply #34 on: 10-26-2006 19:58 »

 
Quote
David X Cohen mentions how they discussed the idea of "old" light and "new" light and whether light created before the speed of light was increased would have sped up. They decided no, that the "old" light would retain the old lightspeed and "new" light would have the new lightspeed, which is why the broadcast of "Single Female Lawyer" still took a thousand years to reach the Omicronians.

This is taken from the shipper thread, but since we're no longer allowed to post physics related banter, I'll say this in here.

So what would happen in the stars in the "I love you Leela" were about a thousand years old(very possible), so would be considered old light, but the explosion happened after the speed increase so that would be considered new light.  So would they still see the stars in tact in their original positions before they were moved into the message, or not?

Question: anyone have the exact date for when the speed of light was increased?  And how long it takes to form a star as big as the ones in TKOS?
Apple Tea

Bending Unit
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« Reply #35 on: 10-26-2006 20:10 »

Stars usually take millions of years to form.  Judging by the size and color of the stars it must have been in the very early stages of development, perhaps before its even considered a star.

Yes, since the light from images traveled at a speed slower than the ship, theoretically they should be able to get back to Earth before the light from the image reaches Earth.  But the chances of them actually seeing the message would be slim since the lights has to travel through different mediums and would be distorted, ie space dust, planetary atmosphere.

Though I'm not quite sure exactly what ur asking here
"So would they still see the stars in tact in their original positions before they were moved into the message, or not?"
fryandlemon

Bending Unit
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« Reply #36 on: 10-26-2006 20:24 »

I meant, since the stars would probably be old light, then back on earth, they would be seen not in the message, but where they were before Fry moved them.  Then later on would be seen being moved by Fry.  Or because the explosion was "new light", would they not be able to see anything at all on earth.

Sorry if it's a bit confusing...
Apple Tea

Bending Unit
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« Reply #37 on: 10-26-2006 21:53 »

Hm...technically they should be able to see those images, but we don't know how far away the actual nebula is from the earth.  It may take decades or even centuries before it could reach Earth and I don't think Fry wants to wait that long.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #38 on: 10-26-2006 23:39 »

Quoting myself from earlier...

So there are EM waves occupying the Universe that are following two completely different Universal Constants?! Gahh!!
Gazzzzznh!
Ugh... damn, I just... a part of my brain actually literally just caught fire.

With 'old' light and 'new' light both occupying the same space you'd be seeing the Universe in double-vision, with the ancient star positions being overlayed by the 'updated' vision in faster light. The night sky would be incredibly confusing and headache-inducing.
Bending Unit 99

Bending Unit
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« Reply #39 on: 10-26-2006 23:48 »

wouldn't that make it like a star is in one place, and that same star is in another place, at the same time?!?!
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