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Science debunks eternal myths about ghosts and vampires

india Updated: Oct 24, 2006 18:50 IST
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A physics professor and a graduate student have debunked myths about the existence of ghosts and vampires using Issac Newton’s Laws of Motion.

According to UCF physics professor Costas Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi, a University of Central Florida graduate now studying at Cornell University, ghosts would not be able to walk and pass through walls.

Both Efthimiou and Gandhi also claim that basic math proves that humans cannot turn into vampires after being bitten. If this was the case, the entire human population in 1600 would have been wiped out in less than three years, Efthimiou explains.

“For ghosts to have the ability to walk like humans, they would need to put a force upon the floor, which would exert an equal and opposite force in return. But ghosts' ability to pass through walls and have humans walk right through them demonstrates that they cannot apply any force,” he adds.

Therefore, Hollywood movies like Ghost and Blade, with one focussing on ghosts and the other vampires, seem farfetched, according to Efthimiou, applying basic physic and math principles.

According to Efthimiou, if the first vampire had arrived on January 1, 1600, when the human population was 536,870,911, and it was assumed that he fed once a month and that victim turned into a vampire, there would be two vampires and 536,870,910 humans on February 1. There would be four vampires on March 1 and eight on April 1. If this trend continued, all original humans would become vampires within 30 months and the vampires' food source would disappear.

This geometric progression is done without taking into account mortality or birth rates.

"In the long run, humans cannot survive under these conditions, even if our population were doubling each month," Efthimiou said.

Gandhi is one only 320 students nationwide to receive the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a premier award for undergraduates in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering. Gandhi began his research with mentor Efthimiou in spring 2004, and he attributes most of his success to Efthimiou.

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