Weightless – Part 9 (Draft)


“Morris look, I can see I was presumptuous moving forward on this without consulting the team.”

“Suppose we combine our ideas?” Ellen suggested.

“I haven’t even told you my concept yet,” Morris said.

“Let’s hear it then,” Ellen and Mr. Torres said in unison.

Morris thought for a moment and then realized that all three had been excited and quick to come to a solution without performing a more rigorous review of the requirements and potential solutions for study. Satisfying, he confessed to himself, but not fully professional. His mind wandered from his idea to the other two.

He noticed an intriguing device on Ellen’s desk. It consisted of five steel balls in a straight line, each hanging from two strings like a swing from two horizontal bars. He had seen one of these before. The balls are hanging such that they are in a straight line parallel to the support bars and barely touching each other. By pulling one of the end balls away from the group, then releasing it, it impacts the next ball transferring energy through each ball to the other end causing the last and only last ball to bounce out and upward from the pack. “What are the first principles?” he thought, still looking at the device. “What are the physics?”

Ellen looked from Morris’s eyes, over to the gadget on her desk.

The next thing out of his mouth was, “What are all the ways mass can be measured?”

“That’s your idea?” Mr. Torres said.

Ellen raised her hand. “I think I know where he’s going with this.”

“Ellen said we needed to use some science, so let’s use it.” Morris spoke with confidence. “What are all the ways mass can be measured? Is there any way to measure mass directly? Or can it only be measured indirectly? How accurate do we need to measure the mass? What are the requirements?” Morris erased the web from the board and wrote, ‘Morphological Analysis.’ “Let’s review the requirements, then do a comprehensive analysis,…”

“What’s a Morpho…?”

“It’s an exploration of all possible, or all practical solutions.”

Ellen and Mr. Torres listened intently.

“I propose a rigorous study of dynamic and inertial laws that involve mass.”

“How long is this going to take?” Mr. Torres asked.

“It’ will only take a day or two,” Morris said, “to itemize a number of practical approaches, then we can do a trade study.”

“We can live with that,” Mr. Torres said. “Ellen, what do you think.”

“It may not be the Best idea, but…” she waited, hoping for a responsive smile to her joke, “but, I think it’s a good idea.”

“Good.” Morris thought. “At least I have the doctors support.”

Ellen continued. “And I would be happy to help.”

“Okay Morris,” Mr. Torres said. “Take a day or two to perform you morphological analysis and we’ll re-convene in two days to see the results.”

(To be continued)

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