Scientific Method Mega Thread

Rtyh-12

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Recently I've had quite an interesting conversation with my English teacher. Now, I first need to say that she's the best teacher I've ever had. However, nobody's perfect, and she has this firm belief that we never went to the Moon... and slightly more...

Her: We never went to the Moon. Everybody knows that it was the biggest conspiracy in history. I mean, it's not like the Americans don't tend to lie to us. It's physically impossible.

Me thinking: Huh?

Her: Do you think it's like in movies or cartoons, where they hop around?

Me, thinking: Umm, yes?

Her: Of course not, if you let go of a pen on the Moon, it will float away. The Moon has no gravity.

Me, not thinking this time: But the Moon has gravity just like the Earth, only lower.

Her: No it doesn't.

Me: But it has to have. That's why tides are here.

Her: No.

OK, that was confusing... no explanation or anything. Anyway, I would like to disprove such a belief and I think that math and physics are the key to this problem. I haven't studied this in school yet, so I have searched a little on Google, but different sites gave me different answers. So I came to the best site to discuss something like this :p Could someone please tell me the formula for the gravitational acceleration, plus all the parameters for the surface of the Moon? If this doesn't convince her that the Moon does have gravity, then I give up. But I would still like to try.

Thanks in advance!
 

T.Neo

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Ouch, that is painful. If she is the best teacher you've ever had then it's clear she knows a lot about English, but absolutely nothing about physics... :facepalm:
 

boby_nadeau

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The moon has a mass , and every thing that have a mass has a attraction force. That's the Newton's law (I think it's the third.. don't remember).
The simplified equation :

F = mMG/r^2

where :
m is the mass of the object "that fall"
M the mass of the moon
G the gravitationnal constant
and r the distance between the center of the moon (M) and the object (m)

I'm not very good in english but I understand, so i'm tying to help you :)
 

RisingFury

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The gravitational force between two bodies is given by:
F = m * M * G / r^2, where m and M are the masses of two bodies, G is the gravitational constant G = 6.67 * 10^-11 N*m/kg^2 and r the distance between the centers of both bodies.


F = m * a
Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. If we equal the two equations...

m*a = m*M*G/r^2

m cancels out because it appears on both sides of the equation, leaving you with

a = M*G/r^2

a is the gravitational acceleration, M is the mass of the body (Moon, Earth, whatever you're calculating the gravitational acceleration for) and r is the radius of the body (the acceleration at it's surface).


I'll let you punch in the numbers, but the Moon's gravity is is roughly 1/6 that of Earth.

Edit: Ninja'd...
 

Tommy

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I would guess this is why she's an English teacher - not a Science teacher!

Ask her why the dirt on the moon doesn't float away, then get whatever textbook your school uses for Physics and show her the section on how Mass affects Gravity.

For that matter, ask her why Russia was willing to admit that the Moon landings were real, it was bad propoganda for them so they had plenty of incentive to deny it if it was faked.

Good luck, but I don't have much hope that you'll succeed. This kind of irrational belief is almost impossible to overcome. Anything that "Everyone Knows" is usually false, it's something people say when they have no real reason to believe something but do anyway.

At least she isn't a flat-Earther (I hope)!
 

Wishbone

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Think the best way to go is not to argue with her, but to thank her for giving you brilliant language skills that allow you to read Apollo operating manuals and CAPCOM's logs in the original. Chocolates are even better.
 

Fizyk

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Try asking her why does Earth have gravity, then. What does she think is the big difference between the Earth and the Moon, which causes the Earth to have gravity, and the Moon not to have it?

First step to showing a person their mistake is to understand where they go wrong ;)
 

Wishbone

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There is absolutely no reason to humiliate other people by exposing their ignorance outside their narrow worldview. Will she learn anything? Maybe, but she will harbour ill feelings against you for the rest of her life.
 

Fizyk

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Well, I usually go by the rule "it's all right to be wrong, it's not all right to want to be wrong". So, unless she won't even try to listen to someone politely explaining her mistake, everything is just fine to me. I don't see explaining to people why they are wrong as humiliating them, rather as preventing their humiliation in the future.
 

Krikkit

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It certainly isn't right to teach wrong as if it were right.

It depends on the context. If she is teaching her class that the moon has no gravity and that the moon landings were faked than I would say you have the moral right to correct her and not feel condescending.

If this was just a private discussion between the two of you, I would just let it go. Unless she gives you marks for it being wrong in a report or something. Which I also had happen to me. I eventually had to take the teacher to the principle for her to admit her mistake and fix my report grade. I don't remember what it was, something about Pre-US-involvement WWII.
 

Rtyh-12

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RisingFury, I tried it before and it gave me weird results, that's why I asked. I tried it again and...

picture.php
 

RisingFury

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RisingFury, I tried it before and it gave me weird results, that's why I asked. I tried it again and...

picture.php


Wolfram Alpha calculation


On a lighter note, I had a Slovenian teacher in highschool who was an utter moron. She wasn't even a good Slovenian teacher and she didn't even know the subject all that well. She started hating me day one, after I corrected some of her misconceptions about Einstein's theory of relativity and science in general. She has a very closed mind and believes God personally created Earth and the universe for the existence of mankind.
 
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Dambuster

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Lunatics like that have no place in the education system. Refer her to her superiors.

What matters is that she's a good English teacher. For all we know, one day she read some website which said that the Moon landings were a hoax and that played on her lack of knowledge about science, and then failed to fact-check that website. Or even if she does know a lot about it, perhaps she's thought about all the evidence from the assumption that it was faked, and arrived at the conclusion that it was a fake. Either way, I think it's a moot point: provided she sticks to teaching English, she has a right to have her own opinion, and she should be allowed to continue to teach English. Just not science ;)


And RE the original post: I'd be very careful in what you do here - it's entirely possible that she's absolutely hate being challenged, and never really forgive you if you do. And there are going to be some people out there who are just so illogical in certain ways that no amount of 'proper' logic is going to convince them otherwise. If you do decide to bring it up again with her (and you want to minimise the possibility that she'll dislike your challenging her), I'd highly recommend doing it when there are no other people around, just so you don't embarrass her.
 
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Hielor

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What matters is that she's a good English teacher. For all we know, one day she read some website which said that the Moon landings were a hoax and that played on her lack of knowledge about science, and then failed to fact-check that website. Or even if she does know a lot about it, perhaps she's thought about all the evidence from the assumption that it was faked, and arrived at the conclusion that it was a fake. Either way, I think it's a moot point: provided she sticks to teaching English, she has a right to have her own opinion, and she should be allowed to continue to teach English. Just not science ;)
I disagree.

As a teacher, she's in a position of respect over students. Even though she's an English teacher, it's entirely possible that she could bring this up in an offhanded manner, and students could end up believing her.

She has no place in an institution of learning.
 

Dambuster

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I disagree.

As a teacher, she's in a position of respect over students. Even though she's an English teacher, it's entirely possible that she could bring this up in an offhanded manner, and students could end up believing her.

She has no place in an institution of learning.

I understand your point, but I can't agree that a good teacher should not be allowed to teach because he/she has mentioned opinions we disagree with.
 

Fizyk

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Hielor said:
I disagree.

As a teacher, she's in a position of respect over students. Even though she's an English teacher, it's entirely possible that she could bring this up in an offhanded manner, and students could end up believing her.

She has no place in an institution of learning.
I'd personally prefer an English teacher who is awesome at English and can teach it in an interesting way, but doesn't know a thing about science, than one who knows something about science but makes English lessons totally boring.
 
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