I stumbled upon the Intuitor Stupid Movie Physics site (very interesting, by the way) and of course had to take their Physics Savvy test. Hah! Quail before my l33t physicz skillz, I thought… but I ended up with just a humbling 87.5% score. 4 out of 30 wrong!

Analyzing my four mistakes was instructive. One of them (#17) was due to a linguistic error – I simply forgot that “speed” and “velocity” are not synonyms in English. Another (#15) was due a subtle difference between scalar and vector acceleration – I thought they meant one but they meant the other. Another mistake (#14) involved “sensation” which I was unsure how to interpret in physical terms. Finally, there’s one (#23) which I disagree with.

This brings to mind the arguments I had in school with my various physics teachers… in retrospect, they usually hinged on trick questions or definitions of technical terms. I remember one especially complex one, involving acceleration in multiple moving frameworks, where the teacher finally had to invoke Lorentz contraction to fend me off. 😀

Anyway, I suppose the average movie director and/or movie-goer would get the majority of these wrong.