Physics Puzzlers:  Read over the Puzzlers below.  Choose one that interests you and then
click on the underlined link.  Read the comments that other students have posted and then add your own.

(NOTE:  At least one of these puzzlers is on the final test for Physics Chapter #2.)

Puzzler #1: The Helium Balloon
You are in a car that has stopped at a stop sign. The car is not moving. You release a red helium-filled balloon inside a car. (The windows are shut.) The balloon floats to the ceiling of the car. Now the car accelerates to 35 mph.


#1: What happens to the balloon as the car accelerates?
#2: Provide an explanation for WHY it happens.....
#3: Sign your real first name and last initial as part of your reply.

Puzzler #2: The Bag of Coins
   An old legend tells the story of a stingy man who never let go of his bag of coins. One winter's day, he slipped in the snow and suddenly found himself in the middle of a frozen pond. The ice on the pond was so smooth and slippery that he could not grab on to the ice to stand up. In fact, he could not get enough traction to move on it at all.


1. What could he do to save himself AND keep the bag of coins?
2. What physics concept applies here & why?

Puzzler #3: The Airplane
You are sitting in a seat in a trans-Atlantic airplane heading for Paris (Oh, lucky you!). It's summer time so you're wearing shorts. Your best buddy is sitting in the seat next to you. The plane is cruising at 530 mph at an altitude of 30,000 feet. Deciding that THIS is the time to try out something new, you stand up, move into the aisle and jump

1. Where do you land and why?
2. Explain the physics behind your choice of consequences.

Puzzler #4: The Yardstick
Hold a yardstick horizontally on your index fingers (left index finger starts at 2" mark, right index finger starts at 34" mark) and slide your fingers together smoothly.

1. Does the stick slide smoothly and evenly over your fingers?  (NOTE:  You can't just think about this in your head.  You need to actually DO IT!)
2. What do you know from your knowledge of physics that can explain the movement of the yardstick?

Puzzler #5:  Playing Catch
You land on the planet Bleep and decide to play a game of catch with your dog Antares. On earth, the best throw you can make stays in the air for 5 seconds.  The same throw stays in the air for 10 seconds on Bleep.

1. If you ignore air resistance, what is the acceleration due to gravity on the planet Bleep?
2. If you take into account that the air of Bleep is "thinner" than that of earth, would this mean gravity was actually higher or lower than what you calculated when you ignored air resistance?

Puzzler #6: The Runaway Elevator
You are trapped in an elevator falling from the 15th floor of a tall building.  

What can you do to increase your chances of survival?