Friday, 23 January 2009

Science solves Italian Job mystery

A little piece of frivolity on a Friday. This is been doing the rounds in the UK today.

For 40 years, film fans have pondered what happened to Sir Michael Caine's gang at the end of The Italian Job.
The movie ended with the back of the bus laden with gold bullion perched over a chasm in the Alps, and Sir Michael's character Charlie Croker says: "Hang on a minute lads - I've got a great idea."
However, the riddle of how they could have extricated the gold - and themselves - from the cliff-hanger scenario has never been solved - until now.
John Godwin, 39, an IT manager from Godalming, Surrey, beat 2,000 other entrants in a competition organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to work out how it could have been done, in a time limit of 30 minutes.
His strategy is designed to redistribute weight, involving knocking out windows, draining the fuel tank, and loading extra ballast (rocks) on to the front of the bus.
With various windows broken, a member of the team could be lowered from one of them to let the air out of the front tyres, to make the coach more stable.
Croker could then have used an access panel to get to the fuel tank, near the rear of the vehicle, and remove its drainage plug.
One man could then safely leave the coach, and pass ballast in to weigh the vehicle down at the front. The gold could then be moved to the front and taken off.
Mr Godwin adds: "What happens then? Separate problem I suppose, but waiting for a passing motorist and either hijacking (feels quite bad) or buying their vehicle with stolen gold (still feels bad, but less damage and no blood) would see the men on their way to Switzerland..."

Check out the graphic:

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