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Mechanics Warmups

Physics is not a discipline, but a way of looking at the world. See if you can use your sense of the world to explain everyday phenomena.

Are You Sure That's What Happens?


As shown in the video above, a small domino can knock over a bigger domino that is taller, and heavier than itself. Subsequent dominos can do the same, so that eventually, the chain knocks down a domino of any height (even one as tall as the Eiffel Tower). How is this possible?

Are any of the penguins in the huddle above losing more heat more quickly than they would if they were standing alone?

Suppose a running, closed refrigerator sits in an isolated room of temperature \(T.\) What would happen to the temperature of the room if the refrigerator door is left open?

Assumptions and Details

  • By isolated, we mean that the room is perfectly insulated, and loses no energy to the outside world.

You have a flat-bottomed paper cup filled with water and you heat it from below with the flame from a bunsen burner. Does the cup catch fire?


  • We are thinking about the period in which the cup still contains water.

As shown in the picture, water flows from the bottle into the cup. What explains this phenomena?


  • The average height of the plane above the ground is constant.

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