1. A car is stopped at a red light. When the light turns green, the car starts
accelerating again. In the process, a cup of coffee sitting in a cup-holder spills
out onto the rear seats. Why does this happen?


  1. Answer:

    Because of inertia (Newton’s First Law of motion)


    According to Newton’s First Law of motion:

    “An object at rest (or in motion at constant velocity) will tend to stay at rest (or tend to keep moving with same velocity) unless acted upon an unbalanced force”

    In this problem, the object we are analyzing is the coffee cup.

    At the beginning, the cup is at rest, together with the car.

    Later, the car starts moving when the light turns green.

    If we apply Newton’s First Law of motion to the cup, we see that the coffee cup tends to keep its state of rest: for this reason, as the car moves forward, the coffee in the cup will spill backward, into the rear seat. This property of an object to mantain its state of motion is also called as inertia.

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