Investigation of Skyscraper’s Feat

(original version with an addendum)

Costas Efthimiou
Skyscraper is a Hollywood action film directed and written by Rawson M. Thurber scheduled to be released on July 13, 2018. We present an exhaustive analysis of the feat shown in the recently released teaser poster and trailer of the film. Although the feat appears to be unrealistic at first glance, after close investigation using back-of-the-envelope calculations, it is seen to be within human capabilities.
This article is the original version of an abridged article published in Physics Education. It was written very soon after the poster and clip were released by Universal Pictures.


Emergence of Benford’s Law in Classical Music

Azar Khosravani, Constantin Rasinariu

The histograms represents the digit distribution of time
intervals for each piano key played for the 32 piano sonatas by
Beethoven vs. the theoretical (Benford) distribution

We analyzed a large selection of classical musical pieces composed by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Tchaikovsky, and found a surprising connection with mathematics. For each composer, we extracted the time intervals each note was played in each piece and found that the corresponding data sets are Benford distributed. Remarkably, the logarithmic distribution is not only present for the leading digits, but for all digits.


Gravitational Waves: A New Astronomy

Luc Blanchet
Contemporary astronomy is undergoing a revolution, perhaps even more important than that which took place with the advent of radioastronomy in the 1960s, and then the opening of the sky to observations in the other electromagnetic wavelengths. The gravitational wave detectors of the LIGO/Virgo collaboration have observed since 2015 the signals emitted during the collision and merger of binary systems of massive black holes at a large astronomical distance. This major discovery opens the way to the new astronomy of gravitational waves, drastically different from the traditional astronomy based on electromagnetic waves. More recently, in 2017, the detection of gravitational waves emitted by the inspiral and merger of a binary system of neutron stars has been followed by electromagnetic signals observed by the γ and X satellites, and by optical telescopes. A harvest of discoveries has been possible thanks to the multi-messenger astronomy, which combines the information from the gravitational wave with that from electromagnetic waves. Another important aspect of the new gravitational astronomy concerns fundamental physics, with the tests of general relativity and alternative theories of gravitation, as well as the standard model of cosmology.


Lets Talk About Black Hole Singularities

Abraham Loeb
Does the collision of black hole singularities imprint an observable quantum signature on the resulting gravitational wave signal?

The singularities at the centers of astrophysical black holes mark the breakdown of Einstein’s theory of gravity, General Relativity. They represent the only breakdown sites accessible to experimentalists, since the other known singularity, the Big Bang,is believed to be invisible due to the vast expansion that occurred afterwards during cosmic inflation…
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