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ISMP In the Classroom?

Physics Classes: The web site was originally created to help high school students think physics and have a lot of fun in the process. The book adds new content to the classroom in ways only a book can accomplish. While it's written for a wide audience, it includes example calculations designed to increase understanding.

Film Classes:  Knowing when and when not to alter a movie's physics is as important to creating the illusion of reality as acting, costumes, and sets. The ISMP book brings a new point of view to the study of film making.

Consider buying a classroom set.


About the author: Tom Rogers has taught AP Physics since 1993. He currently teaches in the International Baccalaureate magnet program for gifted and talented students at Southside High School in Greenville SC. He began using movie physics in 1996 as a way to get his students thinking about physics outside of his classroom. In 1997 he set up the Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics which has gone on to become the internet's premier movie physics site and has grown to about 1,000,000 visits a year.



Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics (ISMP)

First the Web Site, Now the Book

Are you a science fiction or space movie enthusiast? Read about:

  • Star Trek: What makes it special. Why characters like Sulu, and Uhura were unique in the original Star Trek TV series.
  • Star Wars vs Star Trek: Which has the most ISMP?
  • The starship Enterprise: Why it needs to remain in space.
  • Space battles: Which tactics might actually work and which would be suicidal. Why the starship Enterprise couldn't make fast turns in the midst of space battles.
  • Hollywood robots: Are they really the all powerful, multi-purpose, super smart devices that can run for decades without so much as an oil change? Will Star Trek's android Data be created any time soon?
  • Artificial gravity: Good, bad, and downright ugly depictions of it in space movies from Armageddon to Star Trek.
  • Real gravity: How it affects orbits and vertical takeoffs from asteroids with no gravity. What it's like inside a planet?

Are you a history buff? Uncover facts about:

  • ISMP in the movie JFK: From the standpoint of physics, could Oswald have done it?
  • Pearl Harbor's real physics: How did an understanding of physics shape the Japanese attack? Why was it so hard to shoot down a Japanese bomber? Would the bomb that sank the USS Arizona have been released directly above it as depicted in Pearl Harbor?
  • The force field used in WWII for protecting ships from air attack: What was it and what were its limitations?
  • The influence of WWII battles on science fiction: Are the space battles in both Star Trek and Star Wars really something new?

Are you a film student or enthusiast? Delve into:

  • The dos and don'ts of movie physics: Why movie physics plays an important role in creating the illusion of reality--a key ingredient in high quality movies . When moviemakers should and shouldn't alter physics.
  • The worst ISMP mistakes: Mistakes of these kinds trash the credibility of otherwise serious movies and shatter the illusion of reality.
  • The filming and depiction of explosions: Why scale models have to be filmed with high speed cameras and then run in slow motion to appear realistic. Why an exploding planet should appear to be happening in slow motion.
  • The movie physics clichés: That's right, movie physics clichés are just as bad as other kinds.
  • The vomit comet: How the makers of Apollo 13 actually simulated low gravity situations during filming.

Are you a curios person who likes to delve deeper than the obvious? Find out about:

  • Real vs. movie disasters : Which is worse tsunamis or tornados?
  • Firearm physics: They're not the all-powerful problem solvers with endless ammunition as often depicted in movies. The book includes discussions of shooting from the hip, sniper rifles, sub machineguns, sideways handgun grip, etc.
  • Jumps and leaps: Could the terrorist have survived the jump in True Lies? Could the bus have jumped the gap in the bridge as depicted in Speed?
  • Exploding gas tanks: Could a bullet make a car's gas tank explode? How likely is it for a gas tank to explode in a car wreck?
  • Cigarettes as a source of ignition: Could a lit cigarette really set off a puddle of gasoline?
  • King Kong: Could he have existed and if so would scaling a critter up make it able to jump higher or further.?

Are you a student struggling to understand how physics relates to the real world? Learn about:

  • The physics of escape: Is it possible to outrun an explosion? Can a person escape a fire ball by jumping in a lake?
  • The physics of falling: Everything from falling humans to falling bullets.
  • Kinematics: Not just the equations but all kinds of applications from starships to ship wrecks.
  • All three of Newton's Laws: Not just explained but applied to a vast variety of situations.
  • Kinetic, potential, and thermal energy: Why nuclear bombs can't save Earth by blowing up major sized asteroids
  • Movie momentum: Is there an attractive force of glass? Would a  rail gun have recoil? Will we one day be riding around in cosmic Toyotas?
  • Circular motion: How Star Trek justifies the high speed maneuvers of the starship Enterprise.
  • The 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics: How movies commonly break them in movies such as the Matrix.

Written in the the irreverent and humorous ISMP tradition with all kinds of content for anyone who wants to learn something about how the universe works. Ideal for discriminating movie goers, film students, aspiring science fiction writers, physics students, teachers, and anyone who wants to understand physics and just plain have fun. Discusses over 20 movies including Star Trek and Star Wars.

Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics  by Tom Rogers

Best Price $8.92  or Buy New $10.17

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