In Monday’s reference class, we looked at a variety of virtual reference interactions, and one of the example queries immediately grabbed my attention — because, of course, it was about physics! Unfortunately, it was part of an example of a horrid reference interview, but it did have me wondering: could I have answered the question if I had been the librarian at the desk for that patron? Let’s find out! It’s PAIGI (Physics As I Get It) time!
Here is the question: “When you drive forward in a bumper car at high speed and you slam into the car in front of you, you find yourself thrown forward in your car. Which way is your car accelerating?”
I admit, I am not as far into my independent physics studies as I would like, but that’s okay. I’ve already read a good bit about acceleration and the mechanics of objects in motion, so I’ll try to tackle this question with what I know already and supplement the inevitable gaps with research online.
Note: all definitions and equations, unless cited otherwise, are paraphrased from the fifth edition of W. Thomas Griffith’s “The Physics of Everyday Phenomena”.