FUN: Putting a Kick Into Physics

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Science  12 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5737, pp. 995
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5737.995b

Unlike those aerial acrobats lofted by wires in martial arts movies, real kung fu experts depend on an implicit understanding of physics as they block and strike. For a lighthearted exploration of the connection between physics and martial arts, punch up the new exhibit Kung Fu Science from the Institute of Physics in London. Follow along as a physics student learns how to chop a board in half with her hand. Check out her calculations of how much energy her hand can apply to the wood, and then see if she can put the results into practice by breaking a stack of boards.

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