How Tall Can A Lego Tower Get Before Bottom Brick Is Crushed?

How Tall Can A Lego Tower Get Before Bottom Brick Is CrushedIt’s not just children who like to build towers with Lego – the internet is alive with discussion on how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, it would take to destroy the bottom brick. So what’s the answer?

‘No big bang’

Looking on the internet, Dr Ian Johnston, an applied mathematician and lecturer in engineering, expected to find the answer, but was surprised to find only a lot of speculation. Perhaps that’s because not everyone who has pondered the question has ready access to a hydraulic testing machine.

The 2×2 Lego brick looks vulnerable, placed on top of a metal plate, which a hydraulic ram is pushing upwards. On top of the brick is a second plate, with a load cell on top of it, measuring the force being exerted. Safety glasses on, the engineers begin to nervously edge towards the door. The force climbs on, above 4,000N. And then… Nothing. Well, not much. There is no big bang. The brick just kind of melts.

‘Higher than Mount Olympus’

The average maximum force the bricks can stand is 4,240N. That’s equivalent to a mass of 432kg (950lbs). If you divide that by the mass of a single brick, which is 1.152g, then you get the grand total of bricks a single piece of Lego could support: 375,000. So, 375,000 bricks towering 3.5km (2.17 miles) high is what it would take to break a Lego brick.

“That’s taller than the highest mountain in Spain. It’s significantly higher than Mount Olympus [tallest mountain in Greece], and it’s the typical height at which people ski in the Alps,” Dr. Ian Johnston says (though many skiers also ski at lower altitudes). “So if the Greek gods wanted to build a new temple on Mount Olympus, and Mount Olympus wasn’t available, they could just – but no more – do it with Lego bricks. As long as they don’t jump up and down too much.”

What is the tallest Lego structure you have built? Do you think it is possible to build a 3.5km tall Lego tower?

Source: BBC News

Image: Swick

Physicists Find Best Evidence Yet Of ‘The God Particle’

After decades of careful experiment, physicists say they have found the “strongest indication to date” to prove the existence of the Higgs boson — a subatomic particle so important to the understanding of space, time and matter that the physicist Leon Lederman nicknamed it “the God particle.”

The announcement today, based on experiments at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab near Chicago and other institutions, is not the final word, but it’s very close. And it comes just before a major meeting this week in Australia, where more findings will be announced from the giant underground particle accelerator at CERN, the great physics lab in the Alps on the French-Swiss border.

Rob Roser, a Fermilab physicist, said he expected the CERN scientists to offer more evidence of the Higgs particle, though they will also be cautious. “The Higgs particle, if it’s real, will show itself in different ways. We need for all of them to be consistent before we can say for sure we’ve seen it.”

The particle was first proposed in the 1960s by the English physicist Peter Higgs. The international effort to find it has taken decades, using tremendous amounts of energy to crash subatomic particles into each other in giant underground tracks, where they are steered by magnetic fields. Several different experiments have been done by independent teams to ensure accuracy.

Physicists say the Higgs boson would help explain why we, and the rest of the universe, exist. It would explain why the matter created in the Big Bang has mass, and is able to coalesce. Without it, as CERN explained in a background paper, “the universe would be a very different place…. no ordinary matter as we know it, no chemistry, no biology, and no people.”

Do you think the Higgs boson really exists? What is the significance of its discovery to our world today?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Diva Whispers