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Freshman Physics Problem Not Intended to Offend

It has been brought to my attention that the following 8.01 problem offended some members of our community:

You are in the forefront of a civil rights demonstration when the police decide to disperse the crowd using a water cannon. If the cannon they turn on you delivers 1,000 liters of water per minute what force does the water exert on you?

I am sorry that this problem has caused distress, and for the coming year, this problem will be removed. I am particularly saddened by the distress I have caused since my intentions in including the problem were exactly the opposite. For me, and for many others of my generation, the situation depicted above serves as a vivid reminder of the courage displayed by many individuals of all races in advancing justice and political freedom across the world. Many of the 8.01 problems attempt to connect simple physics with real experiences. In retrospect, I realize that some may feel that it is inappropriate to raise broader issues through a freshman homework assignment.

Wit Busza

Professor of Physics