Monday, January 06, 2014

Aamir Khan(s) inspired Galileo

As I was about to escape from the parting tastelessness of the item number in Dhoom 3, a thought struck my mind. The immediately preceding scene in which two Aamir Khans hold hands and drop off from the top of Hoover Dam made me think how Galileo Galilei must have been inspired by this scene to come up with his famous thought experiment that proved Aristotle wrong.
You see, Aristotle taught that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. This got Galileo thinking: “If I proved Aristotle wrong, I would become famous!” He was raking his brains to figure out how. That is when he saw Dhoom 3 and the penultimate scene sealed Aristotle’s fate.
Galileo saw that both Aamir Khans were falling at the same speed. Obviously they will, as they weigh the same. This is when he substituted one muscular and heavy Aamir Khan with the feather weight Raghuram Ekambaram. Immediately, he understood why both Aamir Khan and Raghuram have to fall at the same time.
If they fell at different rates, Aamir will be slowed down by Raghuram who is falling slower, they are holding hands after all. That is one way of looking at it. But because both are holding hands, the system is actually Aamir+Raghuram, as an indivisible whole. Then, as per Aristotle, Aamir along with Raghuram has to fall faster than Aamir by himself.
The situation makes the lives of both Aamir and Raghuram very uncomfortable. Raghuram has to fall simultaneously faster and slower than Aamir; and Aamir has the tougher part to play: he has to fall both faster and slower than himself simultaneously.
It is to get out of this conundrum, Galileo stipulated that both Aamir and Raghuram will fall at the same rate. Body mass has no effect on the rate of fall of a body under gravity.
Now you understand how Indian cinema has helped revolutions in physics. Galileo owes Aamir, and of course, Raghuram Ekambaram too, a huge thanks!

Raghuram Ekambaram 

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