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amusement park rides and mechanical engineering


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Besides keeping the lights on, homes warm, and cars rolling, what is the greatest application of mechanical engineering? Amusement park rides, of course! If you aren't fascinated by these designs, then you should probably switch majors to something like business or marketing. Do you know why the Death Drop is curved the way it is? Calculus of Variations--that chapter at the back of the book you never got around to covering. Turn off the TV, get the book out, and read it now. The quickest path down a slide has a certain shape, called a brachistochrone. It was recognized by the ancient Greeks. Don't you just know somebody named Thrillacus (an aspiring mechanical engineer, of course) tried to build one along the aqueduct in 300 BC? Newton developed this branch of mathematics and was the first we know of to prove the equation.


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