A Physics student who got the following question
in an exam
: "You are given an accurate barometer
, how would you use it to determine the height
of a skyscraper
1: He answered:
"Go to the top floor
, tie a long piece of string
to the barometer, let it down 'till it touches the ground and measure the length of the string
wasn't satisfied, so they decided to interview
"Can you give us another method
, one which demonstrates your knowledge of Physics
2: "Sure, go to the top floor, drop the barometer off, and measure
how long before it hits the ground......"
"Not, quite what we wanted, care to try again
3: "Make a pendulum
of the barometer, measure its period
at the bottom, then measure its period
at the top......"
"..another try ?...."
4: "Measure the length of the barometer, then mount it vertically on the ground on a sunny day
and measure its shadow
, measure the shadow of the skyscraper
"....and again ?...."
5: "walk up the stairs and use the barometer
as a ruler
to measure the height of the walls in the stairwells
"...One more try ?"
6: "Find where the janitor
lives, knock on his door and say 'Please, Mr Janitor
, if I give you this nice Barometer, will you tell me the height of this building ?"
There are many more ways, for instance:
7: To which the less polite alternative
is to threaten to wallop
the caretaker with the barometer unless they tell you how high the building is.
The just-released book, "Expert C Programming (Deep C Secrets)", Peter van der Linden, SunSoft/Prentice-Hall, ISBN
0-13-177429-8, lists twenty-one (21) more or less useful ways to measure the height of a building with a barometer.
8: Use the barometer as a paperweight
while examining the building plans.
9: Sell the barometer and buy a tape measure
10: Use a barometer to reflect a laser beam
from the top and measure the travel
11: Track the shadow of the building positioning a barometer on the ground every hour.
12: Create an explosion
on the top and measure the time for the pressure depression
indicated on the barometer.