Scientist uses physics to get out of ticket

(EndPlay Staff Reports) - Science proved to be a California physicist's friend not only in the classroom but in the courtroom as well.

Dmitri Krioukov, based at the University of California San Diego, told PhysicsCentral how he used physics to overturn a traffic ticket.

He also wrote and posted a paper online.

Krioukov appeared in court after a police officer thought he ran a stop sign. His paper stated three physical phenomena that he said caused the officer's error.

The physicist said the officer, parked about 100 feet away from the stop sign, judged his angular velocity instead of his linear velocity. That, he argued, could cause the officer to wrongly perceive the driver's actual speed.

PhysicsCentral described it as being similar to how a train seems to be moving slowly when far away from a motorist but speeds past when it passes the driver. The train has the same constant velocity despite appearances.

CNET's Car Tech blog stated Krioukov told the court that, in his case, a vehicle traveling at a constant speed could look like a vehicle that stopped quickly then accelerated quickly if the observer's view was obscured.

He claimed in court that he made a hard stop in his compact Toyota Yaris at the same time a vehicle about the size of a Subaru Outback passed between his car and the officer's view.

The other vehicle didn't have a stop sign, but he said it took long enough to pass to obscure the officer's view. That, he stated, blocked the officer from seeing the Yaris stop then proceed.

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

Krioukov got out of the $400 ticket. CNET stated he published his paper on a public Cornell University website along with the graphs and information he provided the court.

He also challenged PhysicsCentral readers to "find the flaw" in his argument, but no takers have been reported.

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