Saturday, April 14, 2012

Physicist presents paper to judge indicating the impossibility of his traffic ticket

GPS has been used in an attempt to get out of speeding tickets, with negative results, but here we have a physics paper besting a radar gun.

Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at UC San Diego wrote a physics paper that apparently was good enough to prove, in court, that he couldn't have been guilty of a ticket he was given for failing to halt at a stop sign.

The paper, titled "The Proof of Innocence," has a somewhat snarky abstract that says "A way to fight your traffic tickets. The paper was awarded a special prize of $400 that the author did not have to pay to the state of California."

Krioukov said he was approaching a stop sign in his Toyota Yaris when a police officer saw him roll through that intersection without stopping, pulled him over and gave him a ticket. Unlike most, Krioukov not only chose to fight the ticket, he choose an unusual way.

Krioukov said that the officer was about 100 feet away, facing Krioukov's car perpedicularly, which distorted his sense of Krioukov's speed prior to the stop. Krioukov contended that he indeed stopped at the sign, but that the officer's view was briefly blocked by a passing car.
When Krioukov's car "reappeared," he had started again, but the officer's sense of Krioukov's car's speed made it seem that the physicist had never stopped his Yaris at all.

It sounds reasonable at face value, but Krioukov said that while the case and his argument were real, he left a flaw in his work for others to find. Some commenters at the site purport to have found the flaw.

Despite the fact that Krioukov said the story is real, the fact that he published the paper on the Web on April 1, 2012 has to make one wonder.

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