FEYNMAN AND THE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION

Keith Robison robison at lipid.harvard.edu
Mon Jan 29 09:01:49 EST 1996


Bert Gold (bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu) wrote:

: So, when Feynman plopped a piece of rubber O-ring into a glass of
: ice water on national television, verifying his theory that the hardening
: of the otherwise viscoelastic properties of the rubber at low temperature
: was reponsible for the lack of separation of the rocket stages:  Hence
: the Challenger explosion.  Feynman upset many.  Because he had told
: a great truth that America did not want to know.

Feynman did the country a great service with that experment.
But, as Edward Tufte points out in his traveling class on data
presentation, it's too bad that Feynman didn't do a _good_
experim (hint: how many cups of water did he use)se).

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
Department of Genetics 

robison at mito.harvard.edu 






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