1C30.55 - Reaction Times

Code Number:
1C30.55
Demo Title:
Reaction Times
Condition:
Fair
Principle:
Human Reaction Time
Area of Study:
Mechanics
Equipment:
Ruler, Long Strips of Cardboard, Dollar Bill.
Procedure:

The instructor takes the ruler and holds it in the air.  A student then comes up and puts his fingers at the lower end of the ruler so that he may catch the ruler as soon as the instructor lets go.  The ruler should fall 50 to 75 cm. before the student can react and catch the ruler.  Cardboard strips may be used in place of the ruler.  A variation of this is to use a dollar bill.  The student should not be able to catch the bill if this is done properly.

References:
  • Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "Human Reaction Times", TPT, Vol. 59, #3, March 2021, p. 205.
  • Robert H. Romer, "Balancing Sticks and Reaction Times Revisited", TPT, Vol. 43, #2, Feb. 2005, p. 68.
  • H.T. Hudson, "Reaction Time as Measured by Balancing a Stick", TPT, Vol. 42, #8, Nov. 2004, p. 506.
  • Joseph L. Spradley, "Meter-Stick Mechanics", TPT, Vol. 28, #5, May 1990, p. 312. 
  • Bill Crummett, "Measurements of Acceleration Due to Gravity", TPT, Vol. 28, #5, May 1990, p. 291.
  • David G. Willey, "Measuring Reaction Time", TPT, Vol. 23, #5, May 1985, p. 314.
  • H.T. Hudson, "Reaction Time as Measured by Balancing a Stick", TPT, Vol. 22, #4, Apr. 1984, p. 245.
  • James Watson, Jr. and Nancy T. Watson, "Pocketbook Science", TPT, Vol. 20, #4, Apr. 1982, p. 235.
  • D. Rae Carpenter, Jr., "Who Would Like to Have a Buck?", TPT, Vol. 14, #5, May 1976, p. 260.
  • William Schnippert, "Catch a Dollar Bill", TPT, Vol. 14, #3, Mar. 1976, p. 177.
  • Marvin Ohriner, "A Fast Buck", TPT, Vol. 4, #2, Feb. 1966, p. 67.
  • Mb-1, Freier and Anderson, A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • M-098: "Reaction Time with $ Bill", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • Tik Liem, "17.17. Catch the Dollar Bill", Investigation to Science Inquiry, p. 447.
  • Tik Liem, "17.18. How Fast Can You React?", Investigation to Science Inquiry, p. 448.
  • Julien Clinton Sprott, "1.2, Reaction Time", Physics Demonstrations, ISBN 0-299-21580-6, p. 6.
  • Adolf Cortel, "Simple Experiments on the Physics of Vision: The Retina", Physics Education, Vol. 40 #4, July 2005, p. 325.
  • Martin Gardner, "Catch The Bill", Entertaining Science Experiments with Everyday Objects, p. 24.
  • Vicki Cobb and Kathy Darling, "Quick Buck", Bet You Can't!, p. 112.
  • Borislaw Bilash II and David Maiullo, "Money from the Sky", A Demo a Day: A Year of Physics Demonstrations, p. 34.
  • Ron Hipschman, "Reaction Time", Exploratorium Cookbook II, 1980, p. 122-1 - 122-2.
  • Janice VanCleave, "12, Oops!", Guide to More of the Best Science Fair Projects, p. 58.
  • Janice VanCleave, "18, Oops!", Help, My Science Project is Due Tomorrow!, p. 40.
  • The Science House, North Carolina State University, "Reaction Time Chain", Physics From the Junk Drawer, 3rd Edition, p. 7.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.