Title

The Sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic: A Case Study in Thermal Inversion and Atmospheric Refraction Phenomena,di

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2022

Publication Title

The Physics Teacher

Abstract

On April 14, 1912, the British passenger liner R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg. The ship sank in a fraction of the time designers had estimated following a worst case scenario. The purpose of this article is to examine the atmospheric refractive phenomena that might have played a significant role in obscuring the iceberg from Titanic’s two lookouts. We describe a way in which these phenomena can easily and inexpensively be brought to students in our introductory physics classrooms.

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