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Dear Professor Bean,

As you failed to specify an appropriate submission time and format for the given assignment from lecture 1/29 ("Go try running into a brick wall"), I decided to submit my report electronically.


Johnny EE


Human Tunneling Lab

Performed 1/29-1/31

Submitted electronically to Professor J Bean 2/1/99

Purpose: To examine the feasibility of the human vs. electron tunneling metaphor, substituting one third year electrical engineering student for a quasi-free electron and replacing the lower potential-higher potential boundary with a free-space to brick wall connection. Insofar as the energy of a given running student can well be described by a waveform with frequency mirroring the stride of said student, it is fair to say that we have replicated the wave-particle duality inherent in the quantum mechanics of the experiment.



1) Locate or construct a solid brick wall.

2) Measure from the wall, some distance X (1.00 m in this lab), and place a reference mark to better demonstrate the displacement of the wall.

3) Clear a path long enough for the subject to reach top speed.

4) Have the student run at top speed into the brick wall, measure and record final positions of student and wall.

5) Repeat as needed, varying depths of brick wall and velocity of student.



Student mass: 65 kg, Vmax = 6 m/s Kinetic Energy of student: 1/2m(V^2) = 1170 joules

Subject: Johnny EE

Location: Exterior of Rotunda, Charlottesville, VA

Observations: The 1.17 kilojoules of incident energy was not sufficient to notice any transmitted phenomena. Large amounts of reflected energy, resulting in the subject coming to rest in a prone position, ironically on the very mark mentioned in procedure step 2.

Brick Wall Depth (rotunda) 6.00 bricks

Measured Displacement (rotunda): 0.000 mm

Several other trials were performed with similar, if not identical, results using the same subject and different incident surfaces, including, but not limited to, Clark Hall, Observatory Hill Dining Center, Thornton Hall (B, D, and E wings), the West Wing of Monticello, and the University Hospital Trauma Center. Variations in striking angle and student surface area did not create any noticeable fluctuations.

I cannot report my results with the technical accuracy of the first trial, as blood loss and fatigue inevitably altered the measurements of mass and max velocity respectively.


Though an exhaustive search of the resources of Clark Hall library turned up no bricks on the subject of Quantum Masonry, I am convinced the relative failure of my experiment hinged on the fact that the minimum depth of any brick wall is exactly 1.00 bricks. Perhaps a higher energy student may be able to gather more conclusive data, however I fear I my 1.17Kj was insufficient for transmittance at the minimum depth. Other unrelated data collected included the phone numbers of 3.0 hotlines for manic-depressives and 1.0 referrals to a local orthopedic surgeon. It is worth noting, however, that the relative trivialness of my data did lead to greatly simplified calculations.

(Prof. Bean, this may be none of my business, but I know that you encourage class participation, and I feel you should know that no small number of my classmates were rather unwilling to be lab partner for this experiment. If you feel this merits a deduction, I feel it would be my duty to provide you with a thorough list of their identities.)



Professor Bean's note: Via e-mail, I replied to Johnny congratulating him on the quality of his efforts (if not his results). Shortly thereafter, I ended up explaining myself to the Head of Computer Security for the UVA Health Science's Center, whose e-mail ID "Johnny" had somehow faked. The security head took it well.