Kung Fu Science

Kung Fu? Meet Physics.

What do you get if you put a physicist, a martial arts expert and a pile of wooden planks in one room? Some smaller planks.  We've all seen it.  Some bloke with a hand of steel slicing a lump of concrete or block of timber in two.  But ever wondered how it's done?  Turns out, it's all down to the science of physics...  Michelle Cain - no relation to the roving fighter played by David Carradine in the 1970s series Kung Fu - is a high flying young scientist just embarking on her PhD in atmospheric physics.  Chris Crudelli is a Kung Fu master (and star of BBC Three's Mind, Body and Kickass Moves).
Somebody at the Institute of Physics, inspired by it being Einstein Year which aims to heighten awareness of the relevance of physics, had the bright idea of putting them together.  The mission?  To work out just what it takes to chop wood with your bare hands.  Cain, 25, said: "Kung Fu is about force so I had an understanding of it with my physics background."  So what did she think about being asked to take part in the exercise?  "At first I was surprised.  It was an unusual idea but an interesting one.  The prospect of breaking blocks of wood is not something I have really thought about."

Not exactly rocket science, or even atmospheric physics, but still amusing.

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