How physics sunk the Titanic

The iceberg wasn't the only thing that took down the Titanic, explains Yale University materials scientist Anissa Ramirez. Instead, cold temperatures in the icy North Atlantic changed the behavior of the materials that made up the boat — changes that reduced the ocean liner's ability to withstand a head-on iceberg collision.

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  1. Physics has been deeply involved in every murder the universe has ever had.

    It's history's greatest monster!

  2. Well it kind of had to be physics, unless perhaps it was magic. But I'm leaning toward physics.

  3. I'm not sure a head on collision would have helped that much, because the Titanic had a colossal design flaw where the watertight components were not sealed at the top, so once the water got high enough it spilled over into the next compartment and doomed the ship.

    Like most disasters the Titanic was not the result of any one particular flaw, but a whole system of failure that built on itself. The undersized rudder didn't give the ship enough steering authority to dodge the iceberg. The Captain was going too fast for foggy North Atlantic seas because he wanted to win a bet. The metal was potentially more fragile than it should have been due to metallurgical defects and cost cutting and the cold water. The rivets used were probably substandard. The ship used square portholes instead of round which added stress points to the metal and facilitated fracturing. The watertight compartments were not sealed at the top. The glancing blow ripped a larger hole than was designed for. The radio operators on nearby ships were not doing their jobs, and lookouts mistook distress flares for fireworks.

    There are a ton of factors in play, and solving any one of them could have avoided or reduced the magnitude of the disaster.

  4. i misread the headline as "how PSYCHICS sunk the Titanic" and my interest was immediately piqued. Oddly enough, however, i was not wondering how, but WHY.

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