I am writing regarding the letter by James Jackson of Carlisle, Ind., “Physicists cause the confusion” in the Oct. 5 issue. Again I had a good hearty chuckle at Mr. Jackson’s response and his apparent obsession with the term “Zero-G.”
Now, it would seem, Mr. Jackson has some sort of issue with physicists as well. As for understanding the forces at work during a “Zero-G” flight, a grade-schooler could figure that one out. Ever ride an elevator down? Now physicists, that’s another matter. Not being one myself, and concluding with reasonable certainty that you are not one either, I must admit that such vast knowledge is indeed beyond my understanding.
What I do understand is a man with an astronomical IQ whose mind has been trapped in a failing body that deprives him not only of motion, but speech as well, was able to take a dream ride in an airplane that allowed him to slip the surly bonds of his wheelchair for a few short segments of time. Judging from the expression on Prof. Hawking’s face, I’d say he was having a great time and experiencing a freedom long denied him and then some. I’ll bet you a doughnut that he fully understood what forces were at work.
What astounds me is why anyone would be so petty as to think a man such as that would have any need to “…correct the mistake about Zero-G” as you said in your letter. What mistake? Is training in a flight simulator a mistake because it’s only simulated flight? I hope not. Is a disabled man experiencing the joy of simulated weightlessness a mistake because it is only simulated weightlessness? Again, I hope not.
James, just let it go. Go next door to Ohio and see the Air Force Museum or something. Enjoy yourself and quit nit-picking.