Day 63: Anti-Curious George Escaped!

We have our own unique twist on the traditional monkey-and-hunter demonstration. My colleague developed a narrative that focuses on Anti-Curious George:


The story is that Anti-Curious George was produced a Fermilab where they can make antimatter. (I usually get on a bit of a tangent about Fermilab, particle colliders, and high-energy physics.) Anti-Curious George is curious like his counterpart, but unlike his counterpart, he is not basically good, he is evil. Our job is to capture him by shooting him with the tranquilizer gun. We share that we know from careful observation that Anti-Curious George will drop from the tree when we fire our gun. The question posed to the students is where to aim. Very few (usually none) predict that we should aim right at Anti-Curious George.

After the surprising result of the demonstration, I challenge the students to explain conceptually why we should aim right at the target. This is not easy and it was a few years before I developed a solid conceptual explanation that students would grasp. I also refer them to a problem in the text in which they can prove algebraically why this works. (First time I’ve referenced the text this year.) Tomorrow, we will discuss the outcome of this conceptually and algebraic challenge!

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