Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Physics of Shamu

Hey, if you have gone to Seaworld parks, and have seen the Shamu show, this article on the physics of Shamu might interest you.

I need to time my jumps perfectly in order to get the greatest amount of lift. Right before Shamu’s forward and upward momentum peaks, I flex my knees a bit and spring forward. Flying through the air feels free and effortless. Heading toward the water’s surface, my inertia is about to be halted rather abruptly. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, with the same speed and direction, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. I aspire to a perfect arch before plunging into the water. That isn’t always the case, however. Belly flops, windmills (picture arms flailing) and back slaps are part of any Shamu trainer’s experience. The law of inertia is all too evident as I hit the water. Shamu, it seems, does not experience the same phenomenon.

The laws of physics are very evident in killer whales, to be sure.
Energy. Force. Magnitude.

I just wish that the author didn't write about Newton being "the father of modern physics". That's a bit misleading since "modern physics" is normally associated with quantum physics and special/general relativity.


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