Egg head beats ticket with physics E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Usually when people go to court to contest a traffic ticket, they aren’t armed with an academic paper and a degree in physics. But according to CBS News, Dmitri Krioukov brought the whole shebang. After receiving a $400 ticket for allegedly running a stop sign, Dmitri Krioukov invoked the very laws of physics to fight the charge.

The University of California, San Diego physicist drafted a four-page paper. In it he claimed that the police officer mistakenly thought he ran a stop sign due to a unique combination of effects.

Krioukov's paper, loaded with complicated graphs and equations, argued that the police offer, parked 100-feet away from the stop sign, was approximating his angular velocity rather than his linear velocity.

In essence, the physicist argued that a vehicle traveling at a constant speed could look similar to a vehicle quickly decelerating and just as quickly re-accelerating if the observer's view was obscured.

Driving his Toyota Yaris, Krioukov was approaching a stop sign when he sneezed, causing him to abruptly step on the brakes.

Krioukov said that at that very moment, a different passing car obscured the police officer’s view. Krioukov quickly accelerated after stopping. The physicist argues that to the officer, it appeared that

Krioukov never stopped at all.

The judge was impressed and dismissed the ticket.

Even the officer that wrote the ticket bought it.

"The judge was convinced, and the officer was convinced as well," Krioukov told PhysicsCentral.

But what about the idea that no one in the court had enough expertise to challenge the defendant’s claims?

Well, like any true scientist, Krioukov offered his paper up to peer review, challenging anyone with enough physics knowledge to find a flaw in his argument.

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