Iona Physics Assignment: Driver Ed 1

Applying the Scientific Method to Driver Ed (Part I).

Have you been frustrated by stop-and-go traffic, particularly when there doesn't seem to be any accident involved? Have you wondered what caused the slowdown and how it might have been avoided? If so, you are not alone. Since you are taking a physics course, why not apply the scientific method to this question and see where it leads.

You know that the "Scientific Method" involves observing, making an hypothesis (educated guess), then testing your hypothesis through experimentation. Your experiments may lead you to confirm, abandon, or refine the hypothesis. People who have a scientific outlook do this informally, frequently, and in situations far away from a laboratory.

One such person is Bill Beatty, who maintains the Science Hobbyist web site. He applied the sceintific method to traffic jams, and his thoughts, experiments, and conclusions are available on the Internet.

In order to complete this assignment you will read Mr. Beatty's thoughts, his report of his own experiments and his conclusions. While you are reading you should be Read the page on Traffic Waves and also the page on Amateur Traffic Wave Experiments then write a brief essay answering the following questions: Note: Do NOT include his study of Merging Lane Traffic Jams. We will cover that in another assignment.

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