Oh God, I love physicists

April 17, 2012

Dmitri Krioukov, UCSD, got out of a $ 400 fine for jumping a red light by the sheer awesomeness of physics with his publication The Proof of Innocense:

[In this paper], we show that if a car stops at a stop sign, an observer, e.g., a police officer, located at a certain distance perpendicular to the car trajectory, must have an illusion that the car does not stop, if the following three conditions are satisfied: (1) The observer measures not the linear but angular speed of the car; (2) The car decelerates and subsequently accelerates relatively fast; and (3) There is a short-time obstruction of the observer’s view of the car by an external object, e.g., another car, at the moment when both cars are near the stop sign.

The physics is pretty rudimentary, yet completely sane. I can only applaud this man for having gotten away with this, although I'd argue that the conclusion is equally as subjective as that of the police officer:

As a result of this unfortunate coincidence, the O’s perception of reality did not properly reflect reality.