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It's not the fall that kills you



This sounds dark, I know, but after watching the most recent episode of Sherlock this is one of the lines that stuck with me. "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the landing." And I realized that there must be physics behind it, and of course there is! The best part is that the physics behind it makes a lot of sense. If you are familiar with Sherlock, whether the to show or the Sherlock Holmes books, you are familiar with the Reichenbach Fall. In the show, this occurred in the city of London, with Sherlock jumping to his "death" and hitting the street below. When a person or object falls, it reaches a point where it's velocity reaches terminal velocity. Then it continues to fall at the same speed forever, that is, until something gets in the way. It's not the fall itself that is harmful; it's the sudden deacceleration of the object as its velocity changes from terminal velocity to zero in an instant. And it's this huge acceleration over a short time that causes the harmful force when a fall is stopped because force is equal to mass times acceleration.




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