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TCC professor is an attraction at Busch Gardens

Professor David Wright performing at Busch Gardens in WilliamsburgAlong with Griffon, Alpengeist and Apollo’s Chariot, summer at Busch Gardens showcases the physics shenanigans of Tidewater Community College professor David Wright.

In his highly interactive shows that began in April, Wright rides a hovercraft and a rocket car, lies on two beds of nails and removes a tablecloth from a table, leaving the dishes intact.

“You wouldn’t want to do this for a very long time,” Wright says, pointing to a photo of himself on the bed of nails, a feat he performs to demonstrate pressure and motion. “You’ve got so many nails, the pressure is spread out. So there’s not as much pressure on any one nail.”

His shows are presented to middle and high school physical science and physics students along with some college students. The idea is to show off how relevant and fun studying physics can be. A favorite is his tablecloth trick, which explains the principle of inertia. “As long as the tablecloth is slick enough, anyone can do it,” Wright says.

Last month, Wright, who has taught physics at TCC since 1974, took part in the debut of the Travel Channel series “Insane Coaster Wars.” He served as the Busch Gardens spokesman for Apollo’s Chariot, explaining acceleration, weightlessness and the G-forces behind the popular ‘coaster.

On Friday and Saturday, Wright will be at Busch Gardens again as part of NASA Exploration Days. Wright will be part of a sidewalk tent located in Oktoberfest featuring demonstrations about how gravitational forces relate to spaceflight, particularly the August landing of a NASA science lab on Mars.