Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Snowballs Chance (PC)

I love snow! There is so much physics involved with snow. You can study thermodynamics, kinetics, optics, fluid dynamics, crystallography, solid state physics and statistical mechanics and still not know enough about snow. Quantum mechanics, chemistry…

There are Fermi problem associated with snow.

--- Start Fermi Problem ---

Estimate how much snow falls over the Earth each year.

About how many snow flakes is this?

How many protons does this correspond to?

Estimate how much energy it would take to melt all that snow.

Estimate how much energy it would take to vaporize all that snow.

How many snow men could be made with all that snow?

If all that snow was turned into snowballs, and a great world war with snowballs were launched, about how much energy would the people throwing the snowballs expend (neglect throwing each snowball more than once).

How long would the war last (assuming the snow does not melt first) ?

--- End Fermi Problem ---

War is hell, so what are the snowball’s chances?