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Life Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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The Physics in the Movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (Coursework Sample)

Instructions:

Analyze any two scenes from a single movie for its physics. Your submission will include a double-spaced 5-7 page analysis of your movie, along with a rating for the physics shown in the movie. Detailed shown in the document attached.

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Physics Final Project: The Physics in the Movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Introduction
The 2001: A Space Odyssey released in 1968 features a massive rotating space station, and the film has been rated as the finest sci-fi film of all time (Darling np). The movie incorporates various concepts in physics into action. Besides the occasional music sounds in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the “space films” that depict an absence of sound in space, which is a vacuum (Weiner np). A space station is usually a large orbiting structure than humans can live and work for a long period. In his “The Brick Moon,” Edward Everett Hale conceived the concept of a space station following the American civil war. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky a Russian educator later tackled the idea in more details in his 1895 sci-fi story, and in 1903, he further described the concept while integrating the ideas of rotation for artificial gravity, the utilization of solar energy, and space greenhouses within a closed ecosystem (Darling np). In 1923, Hermann Oberth, a German space pioneer coined the term “space station” to describe an orbiting structure that would lay a foundation for astronauts to fly to the Moon and the planet Mars. The following five years saw Guido von Pirquet, an Australian engineer considering a system made up of three stations. The first two stations would be a near orbit and a distant one, while third one would be an intermediate elliptical orbit linking the other two for refueling especially in deep space flights. Herman Noordung first introduced the concept of a rotating wheel-shaped station in 1929 in his work on “The Problem of Space Flight.” Noordung celled his station with a diameter of 30 meter the Living Wheel and suggested that it be placed in geostationary orbit. The space station in the 2001: A Space Odyssey film directed by Stanley Kubrick was 1,836 feet in diameter and it revolves to produce a sixth of the surface gravity of the Earth. International scientists, bureaucrats, and other passengers inhabited the station that orbited 200 miles above the Earth. The center of the station acts as a docking port for space shuttles and the outer ring serves as living quarters, shopping areas, recreation, and meeting points for inhabitants.
In appreciating the concepts of physics such as the centripetal acceleration in the film, it is important to consider that astronauts, while in space stations, will feel “weightless” as they are orbiting the Earth in a similar way they do in Shuttle. The feeling of “weightless” is similar when one jumps off a cliff. While there is gravity on Earth, the effect of the body will be equivalent to zero gravity. Similarly, for persons rotating or orbiting the Earth in the space station, the effects would be similar as if there is no gravity even if the gravity might be as high as .9g. This observation can be accounted by the fact that a person jumping off from a cliff is falling freely towards the earth or experiencing a vertical free fall because of gravity, which is simply h=1/2at2 which is balanced by the horizontal motion caused by inertia d=v t, using Newton’s first law of motion. In case one wants experience a force in their frame of reference, which is to fall freely relative to the earth, they produce a motion, which does not interfere with the rotation around the earth although they can still cause a fictitious force of the right direction and magnitude. Spinning the frame of reference would result in motion. In addition, if one spins their frame of reference in the right way, they can cause a centrally directed force, also known as centripetal force of a simila...

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