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Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line: April 11

Todd Sampson came in like a wrecking ball .....

Todd Sampson came in like a wrecking ball in his latest physics test, tonight on ABC.

Todd Sampson puts the law of conservation of energy to the ultimate test by releasing a one-tonne wrecking ball centimetres from his face.

With the help of astrophysicist Dr Alan Duffy, Todd explores one of physics’ fundamental laws with the destructive power of a giant pendulum – a one-tonne mass of steel swinging on a 13-metre chain.

Unless extra energy is added, the law of conservation of energy states that when the wrecking ball swings back towards Todd, it should go no further than the point from which it was released. But for the theory to hold, the engineering is crucial; if any extra energy is added into the system, it’s game over for Todd. This is the biggest challenge for the construction team as they try to secure this potentially deadly mass of metal to a heritage building on Cockatoo Island. There is no room for error in this experiment.

With the wrecking ball hurtling towards Todd at 25 kilometres per hour, he trusts the law of conservation of energy to stop the ball before it crushes his skull.

Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line 8pm Tuesday on ABC.

3 Responses

  1. I don’t know if repeating a pretty standard experiment that used to be done in every second school / uni physics lab, and demonstrated endless times on everything from kids TV to comedy panel shows, really qualifies as “life on the line”…

    1. Exactly. This is very lame.

      “…if any extra energy is added into the system, it’s game over for Todd. This is the biggest challenge for the construction team…”

      I’m not sure where they think this extra energy is going to come from. Hope nobody sneezes at the wrong time.

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