In a crushing defeat for Miley Cyrus, the Internet has proven beyond a shadow of a scientific doubt that it is impossible for her (or anyone else) to come in like a wrecking ball.
David McDonagh, a third-year science student at the University of Leicester, applied some physics to Ms Cyrus’ assertion in a paper entitled “The Viability of Coming In Like a Wrecking Ball.”
An actual wrecking ball weighs between 1,000 and 7,000 kilograms. It must be this massive in order to accomplish its assigned task of bringing down buildings. This is a far cry from Ms Cyrus’ acknowledged weight of 49 kilos (108 pounds).
However, the real genius of a wrecking ball is the momentum it carries when it oscillates. A wrecking ball’s momentum produces a large amount of force when it hits something like a brick wall. That force is great enough to knock down brick and steel. And because it weighs so much, a wrecking ball doesn’t have to be travelling very fast to do some serious damage. A few miles per hour at most.
In order to carry the same momentum, Ms Cyrus would have to be travelling at more than 390 miles per hour in order to actually “come in like a wrecking ball.” That’s obviously a little crazy. But where her claim really falls apart is what happens when her momentum is transferred to the wall. Her body would be subject to more than 350 Gs in deceleration–some 340 Gs over the fatal limit for humans–striking the wall with over 200,000 Newtons. This is the equivalent to being shot out of a 747 engine at full thrust.
The conclusion? Miley Cyrus may in fact be able to come in like a wrecking ball, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Her body would instantly shatter and liquefy like a bug on a windshield.
Mr. McDonagh’s conclusion, therefore, is “Based on these findings, it is clear that a human being cannot possess the characteristics of a wrecking ball without sustaining significant injury, and other objects should be sought as an analogy.”