PHYSICS "TEST"! - VTPhD Gets You Ready For Omaha


During the Stanford-Vanderbilt series this last weekend, ESPN couldn't shut up about the physics test one of the Stanford players was taking. I don't care which player it was (EDIT: "Andrew VU '04" informs me it was RHP Cal Quantrill), but the fact remains that the words "physics test" was mentioned no less than 1,393,784 times during that Saturday game. In our Omaha Celebration thread, I came up with the idea to make a physics "test" (by the way, you should join in our open thread). This is by no means a real physics test, just a few silly questions because I feel like it.

Solutions will be posted Saturday.

Solutions are here!


A pitch comes in over the plate at ~1 m above the plate. What is the minimum velocity a ball must have when it leaves the bat to get out of TD Ameritrade Park if batted at angle of 45 degrees off the horizontal and leaves out of:

  • Left-Center
  • Right Field

Assume the fence is 10 ft. high all around the park. Ignore air resistance.


Vandy's Carson "The Florida Flamethrower" Fulmer regularly throws 98 m.p.h. fastballs. If a batter takes ~0.125 s to swing the bat, how long does it take for a batter to observe, recognize, and decide to swing at the pitch after it is released? (The distance from the rubber to the plate is 60.5 feet).


A ball is hit straight out of the park at an angle of 30 degrees off the horizontal (to the ground). It takes 2 seconds to reach a fan 400 ft. away. Determine

  • How high above the ground is the fan?
  • The mass of a baseball is ~0.145 kg. Find the kinetic energy of the ball when the fan catches it.


Ozzie Smith has been falling into the pit of the "Springfield Mystery Spot" for 22 years. Assuming he's fallen at a constant rate of ~125 mph since then, how far has he fallen? How far is this in terms of the distance of the Earth to the Sun? (Technically speaking, if he could survive the heat of the center of the Earth, he would have returned to Springfield in 90 minutes!)


Hayden Stone has to drag "The Stone of Triumph" from Nashville, TN to Omaha, NE. The K-Reamer, instantaneously accelerates to a speed of 4 mph. He decides to take the I-70W route, pulling the "The Stone of Triumph" with a force of 1,350 N, and arrives in 11 days, 17 hours, and 39 minutes. If the stone of triumph is 150 kg, determine the coefficient of kinetic friction between the asphalt and "The Stone of Triumph"


Stanford is a cow college. Well, more accurately, it’s a Junior College, but whatever. In honor of Stanford’s cow college status, find the rest-mass energy of a full-grown adult cow (~600 kg).


Neptune is currently ~29.74 AU away. Assuming the broadcast was sent at the speed of light, how long does it take the people on Neptune to find out about Quantrill’s oh so impressive physics test? (1 AU ~ 1.5*10^8 km)


Stanford’s pitchers were ice cold, at times walking pretty much our whole lineup. If the pitchers were physically ice cold (~ 273 K), and radiated their body heat purely as a blackbody, what (peak) wavelength would that radiation be?


ESPN’s general strategy with "stories" is to mention it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Earlier, I mentioned that ESPN mentioned Quantrill’s PHYSICS TEST "no less than 1,393,784 times". Treating this story like the radioactive waste it is, let’s assume they have that many times they can mention the story during the game, and do it at a rate corresponding to a half-life of 10 minutes. About how long does it take until they’ve used their allotted mentions?


Approximate the gravitational force between a Stanford player watching the game in his dorm and a Vanderbilt player in Omaha. Assume both players are about ~ 85 kg. The distance between Stanford, CA and Omaha, NE is ~ 2,300 km.

(end of test)

That's all y'all! I was originally going to bring in some Kerr Geometry, but I honestly don't feel like writing a solution for that, so laziness wins the day once again! Also this test is pretty easy, so I expect all of you to get 100s. I expect nothing less of AoG nerds.

Let's Rock Louisville this weekend!


Question 3b originally asked for the velocity, but I meant to ask for the kinetic energy. The question has been edited to reflect this.


06/10, 20:29 - Per request, I have added SIX more questions to your exam! Good luck y'all!


Realized late last night, that like I made the comment below, a mass was needed to solve #5. I have assigned one. Also, SB Nation's interface outright lies, and it doesn't do superscripts. So I've made the AU unit conversion clearer in #7.


Hopefully the last edit, but it has come to my attention Question 1 was probably too difficult for a general audience. I have instead asked for the minimum velocity a ball must have in a more specific instance.

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