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Tinsley Uses Taters to Teach


Todd TinsleyDr. Todd TinsleyCONWAY, Ark. (Sept. 2, 2011) – Just a couple of weeks into the fall semester and Hendrix College physics professor Dr. Todd Tinsley has already brought a gun to class.

Fortunately for Public Safety, it was a potato gun, not a firearm. And no potatoes were harmed or wasted during the demonstration. Tinsley, a 1998 Hendrix graduate, substituted the starch with Play-doh.

“This is a real-world demonstration of two-dimensional projectile motion,” he said. “We use the Play-doh cannon to achieve high speeds for the projectile.”

“At these speeds (>80mph), air resistance is important,” he said. “And we can ask students to compare and contrast the object's motion with that of the standard idealized model with no drag.”

To view a video of the demonstration, visit 

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. Hendrix is featured in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 376 colleges and is listed in the 2012 edition of the Fiske Guide to College as one of 25 “Best Buy” private colleges included. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit