Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can Alex Lapides Jump Over the Moon?

The Tech asked me to write a story about the recent home meet.  So, after a long hiatus, a new track article.  meet results here

Alex Lapides won the high jump at the SCIAC 4-Way meet at Caltech last Saturday, April 2.  He defeated competitors from Pomona-Pitzer, Cal Lu, and Whittier by jumping 5.07*10^-9 the way to the moon.  Whether he will attain the full distance remains an open question.

Lapides is closer than the previous statistic makes him appear.  Earth’s gravitational  potential decreases with height, so that Lapides’ kinetic energy at takeoff was  3*10^-7 the gravitational potential well involved in a terrestrial-lunar transit.  Including the moon’s gravitation favorably improves this ratio a further 4%.
In 1990, JPL mathematician Edward Delbruno pioneered the method of low-energy transfer, applying principles from choas theory to successfully navigate the Japanese Hiten satellite from low-earth to lunar orbit despite extremely low fuel reserves.  If Lapides can merely attain low-earth orbit after his initial take-off (and he is already 7*10^-6 of the way), he may be able to achieve lunar orbit using small impulsive kicks generated by expelling unneeded spit or toenails.  As this method takes several months, Lapides continues his training in breath-holding.

Stephanie Wuerth won the 3000m steeplechase, taking only about 4.3 times as long thoroughbred racehorse “Paper Junction” would have needed to cover the same distance.  Paige Logan took second place in a shot put with a throw that, assuming an optimal trajectory, had a kinetic energy approximately 4*10^-7 the total metabolic energy available in her body, assuming the entire thing burned down to the bone.  Logan also claimed second in the discus with a throw about 10^-3 the way to flying over Mount Wilson.
Brice Nzeukou was third in both the 100m and 200m.  He attained average speeds of 2.995*10^-8 and 2.911*10^-8 respectively, in natural units.  Deboki Chakravarti needed only 4.43*10^-10 millenia to secure sixth place in the women’s 100m.

Juliette Becker, going roughly 4*10^-8 the way around the Earth per stride, covered the 800m distance in about 1500 blinks of an eye (under the unrealistic assumption that the eye blinked continuously; according to Wikipedia most adult humans would have blinked about 25 times during the race) for seventh place.
Jessica Swallow tied for second in the women’s triple jump by jumping the length of 4000 typical nematodes stretched end-to-end.  Sarah Wright took third in the javelin, throwing the implement 13.3 times its own length, which equivalent to throwing your own digestive tract a quarter mile.

Anton Bongio-Karmman finished seventh in the men’s 1500m run.  His Reynolds number was about 700,000.

If we assume that Jonathan Schor can be well-approximated as a quantum-mechanical point mass in a uniform potential, the stationary states would be Airy Functions, and we can estimate based on the peak of his ascent that Schor was in roughly the 10^26th excited state of his body.  I can asschor you that his  legions of female fans were equally excited about the state of his body.  As far as the competition went, Schor got last place.

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