Case Studies in Forensic Physics

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This book focuses on a forensics-style re-examination of several historical events. The purpose of these studies is to afford readers the opportunity to apply basic principles of physics to unsolved mysteries and controversial events in order to settle the historical debate. We identify nine advantages of using case studies as a pedagogical approach to understanding forensic physics. Each of these nine advantages is the focus of a chapter of this book. Within each chapter, we show how a cascade of unlikely events resulted in an unpredictable catastrophe and use introductory-level physics to analyze the outcome. Armed with the tools of a good forensic physicist, the reader will realize that the historical record is far from being a set of agreed upon immutable facts; instead, it is a living, changing thing that is open to re-visitation, re-examination, and re-interpretation.