James Bryant ... true silly stories of the 1970s

THE year is 1970. The location Longsands Comprehensive School and a teacher called Mr Humphries - the name has been changed to protect his identity - is giving a physics lesson. Mr Humphries wasn't cut out to be a teacher, timid and in hindsight another occupation would have suited him better plus it didn't help that we all gave him grief too.

He was talking about velocity and accelerating bodies when the usual curved ball was thrown towards him. "Sir," I asked, "If you were in Concorde, flying at twice the speed of sound and fired a gun out of a window and in the direction of travel, would Concorde overtake the bullet?"

Perhaps a silly question* but Mr Humphires rose to the challenge. And as the (hypothetical) ball hit him squarely between the eyes he stood his ground, paused for a moment, and said, "Well, it would go around the world twice and then end up in the back of your garage!" We were all gobsmacked by his answer and this remains so to this very day.  


* in 2008 I came across a debate about Concorde and a bullet so in retrospect my question of 1970 was not so silly!

Back to homepage