- What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?
- When, if ever, will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than of living ones?
- What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?
- What if a rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?
This are examples of reader questions, which Randall Munroe answers on his blog What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.
Admittedly, the hypothetical questions are in some cases kind of far-fetched and may not exactly be world shaking. But the scientific based answers are definitely fun to read. Munroe, who worked as a contract programmer and roboticist for NASA before he became a writer and cartoonist, uses physics and math to answer the questions. His explanations are very understandable and humorously expressed.
When I was a child I used to ask questions of exactly this sort. In doing so, I nearly drove my mother crazy. She developed a serious allergy to w-words. How beautiful it would have been to have someone like Randall Munroe around who would patiently answer all my questions…
Munroe has also written a book with the same title as the blog, which contains a collection of some of the most popular answers from the blog. The book would probably not be the best source to prepare for your physics exam. But you can learn from the way he approaches the questions.
I really like the way he explains and I’m sure you will too. Have a look at this video from his TED talk.