The Rumor Mill Isn’t Broken Down!

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 22, 2020

Years ago, a student locked himself in a windowless supply room accidentally by panicking after the light blew out and hitting the push-lock while trying to open the door. A physics professor saved the day by kicking in the door.

That year…

Sophomore #1: “Did you hear about [Physics Professor]? He kicked a door off its hinges to save a student!”

Other Professor: “It wasn’t that impressive. It was a cheap door.”

One year after…

Sophomore #2: *To a new freshman* “Last year, [Physics Professor] had to rescue a student trapped in a locked room. He knocked the door over with a single kick.”

Two years after…

Freshman: “I heard a story about [Physics Professor]. There was this student stuck in a room, and no one could get the door open, but he looked at the door and worked out where it was weak because of physics and was able to break it down!”

Four years after…

Sophomore #3: “Hey, [My Name]. Were you teaching here when [Physics Professor] had to rescue a student locked in a room? I heard he analyzed door in his head and knocked it off its hinges with a single blow.”

Me: “No, it was a cheap interior door. He just kicked it and it broke.”

Five years after…

Student:so, the story is that [Physics Professor] is looking at this door, and he realizes that because of its shape there’s a single flaw, right, so he smashes it at the perfect spot and it just shatters. [Other Professor in my department] confirmed the story!”

Six years after, the topic of fire doors comes up in a safety lecture, and one professor jokes that we need to leave them open “because we can’t all smash our way through doors” like the physics professor.

Then, the year after that…

Sophomore #4:so, the student’s stuck in a room, the building is on fire, and [Physics Professor] saves the day by analyzing the door…”

Finally, eight years after it happened, the physics professor and I are talking.

Physics Professor: “By the way… one of my new students asked me if it’s true that I used math to break a door and save a room full of students trapped in a burning building. Any idea why?”

Me: “Do you remember [Student] from eight years ago? The story seems to have mutated a bit.”

Physics Professor: “OH. Huh. Well, I told them it was all true.”


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

1 Thumbs
496