If I had an advanced knowledge of physics, what cool stuff could I do?

Now I know that most people don’t study physics so that they can run better, but the thought does intrigue me. Let’s say I had a very good understanding of the workings of the physical world, and wanted to use my knowledge to do something (either cool or outrageous). What are the limits that my great knowledge and understanding would allow me to achieve?

For chemistry and biology, I can have some imagination. After all, I did watch Spiderman cartoons (and still do in fact, so there!). Mutating DNA (although I can only imagine the lab equipment that carried this out would run into the millions of buckaroos), keeping a healthy body, designing cool new bombs (though I’m not saying I would use 'em unless I became the survivalist my father never was), or designing some cool new material (I dubb thee “ChubberWear”) etc.

But if I knew loads about physics (and not knowing much about it now), what kinda stuff could I do? The best I could come up with is jump higher, though I’m not sure that even that is a correct assumption.

With only a little bit of knowledge, you can figure out how to shoot household objects at 200 ft/s.

You can work out the physics of karate, and convince yourself that you can break boards without hurting yourself. And then hurt yourself anyway.

Has this ever been tried before?

Seriously I once saw an illusionist who did this “walking on molten lava” act where she walked barefoot on this (well, take a guess) boiling molten lava (something like 2000 degrees celsius, she said - though that’s just a guess).

So this balding overweight 60-year old physicist sticks out his hand and claims he can do that too, and that in fact you don’t have to “corner your psychic energy into the center of your inner being” (as she put it), it’s simply a matter of making contact with the lava maximising (and spreading) the total area of each foot over the lava. He even gave a small equation to explain it. Upon the woman issuing her challenge, this old guy gets up with the utmost confidence, and simply repeats the trick, finishing to rapturous applause afterwards. You should have seen the woman’s face. Let’s just say she was not amused. In fact she probably wanted everyone to leave so she could apply a chokehold on the guy.

Well, I have a pretty advanced knowledge of physics and I have yet to do much of anything cool as a result. I mean, if demystifying things like walking on coals, lying on a bed of nails, or why homeopathic medicine is 100% placebo effect counts as cool, then I guess I’ve done some of that. But that’s not exactly superhero stuff. I can’t exactly manipulate matter or bend the elements to my will.

I’d love to be able to jump higher, though – it’d make dunking a basketball so much easier.

My pysicist brother proved that there is literally no end to the cool juvenile stunts one can pull with an access to liquid nitrogen! :smiley:

My favorite: one time, we were in his lab late at night, and he poured a bucket of the stuff - hard - across the floor in the corridor outside his lab.

It has this property of creating a layer of vapour between itself and the ground (which is much hotter than it) - and moving like an air-hockey puck across the floor. Plus, of course, it is steaming and boiling, and it picks up dust from the floor … imagine a steaming, boiling dustball with tentacles. moving really fast.

Well, it bounced off a wall and whent down a corridor … and then we heard a terrible scream!

We ran around to the corridor, and saw a janitor drop his pail & mop and run for dear life, being “chased” by the blob. By the time he got to the end of the corridor, it had all evaporated.

He turned around and saw … nothing. But us staring at him. “Did you see it?!” - “see what?” :wink:

Also, you might want to check out the Leidenfrost effect.

My friend Dave Van Domelen (big physics brain by day, toy and comic book reviewer by night) uses his awesome knowledge to conduct science labs using Hot Wheels™ cars. :slight_smile:

Does pouring liquid oxygen on things and watching them burn like catherine wheels count?

How about being able to build a wormhole as soon as someone makes enough exotic matter?

Is that hot enough for the lava to boil? Or was ‘hotter boiling water’ meant?

You could do my physics homework for me. That would be really cool.

This is how we clean our lab - once a year whether it needs it or not. A year is enough time to build man-eating sized dust bunnies then we bring 'em to life with the LN2. Good stuff.

Yeah. By me. I got a couple of articles and a bachelor’s thesis out of it.

You can answer many questions in GQ. :slight_smile:

Experimental physicists get to design and build all sorts of cool stuff like orbital telescopes and particle accelerators, at least when the government gives us the money to do so. :rolleyes:

Knowledge of physics allows you to understand how the world works, which I think is a cool thing. But physics is a theoretical field; you can apply knowledge of physics to make machines and gadgets, but that falls under the category of “engineering.”

By the way, here’s a man who applied his knowledge of physics (aerodynamics in particular) to become the second fastest man on earth[li]:[/li]

second highest speed record for a human-powered vehicle

In my case, you get to say “Hey, I’m a female astrophysicist”, which gets admiring glances, or “you’re strange” looks. You get to go on cool observing trips and conferences to far flung locations like Australia, Hawaii, Chille, and New Mexico, without having to pay for any of it (well if you’re an academic physicist at any rate).

I think ‘answer Q in GD’ is the best so far :slight_smile:

Angua: Yes, but you don’t really need any of the knowledge to say that. If I say “Hey, I’m a female astrophysicist.” I get plenty of strange looks and I know jack-shit about physics (apart from basic dynamics and a little about manifolds)

Yeah, but you’re a Trinitarian Part III mathmo. 'Nuff said. :wink:

Besides, being a female astrophysicist has other advantages, if you’re in the right company. :smiley:

OK, OK. Change that to read ‘stranger looks.’

Speaking of which, eep, 11.00 lectures, got to go.

11 o’clock lectures! Luxury! In my day we had 9 am lectures every day, including Saturdays. And we had to write our own notes.

But back to the OP, an advanced knowledge of physics will enable you to do practically anything. I speak from experience.

To paraphrase a conversation I had recently:

Marisa: How many 9.00 lectures do you have?
Me: Nine O’clock lectures? What are these of which you speak?
Marisa: I hate you.

Seriously, I just got lucky with my choice of courses. And no, I didn’t know that when I chose them. On fridays, I have one lecture, at 12.00. OTOH, part III is really fucking hard! And I miss lunch every day as I have 12.00s.

Anyway, for all you knew, I had a break between my 9.00 and 11.00 lectures.