Originally created 11/27/03

Police officer with magic hobby reveals tricks of carnival games



BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Glynn County police Cpl. Glenn Hester knows a secret to making learning the laws of physics fun for youngsters.

An accomplished magician and carnival game fraud investigator, Cpl. Hester brought his bag of tricks to a south Georgia middle school to show sixth-grade pupils how law enforcement officers use science.

Knowing physics fundamentals is vital to detecting carnival game scams, Cpl. Hester told the pupils at Needwood Middle School.

"Similar principles are used in magic and carnival games. And not all carnival games are crooked. There are many good games of skill out there," he said. "Figuring out how the games work is a fun way to learn science, and it can also help the youths keep from being ripped off when they go to a fair or carnival," said the officer, who also is the public relations officer for the department.

Cpl. Hester was assisted by his grandson, Jaime Tanner, 11, a sixth-grader at the school.

They used a game in which the object was to knock over a bowling pin with a swinging ball to show pupils Newton's third law: that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The "bushel basket game," in which a player tosses a ball into a basket without it rolling back out, requires an understanding of the principle of the angles of incidence and refraction.

He explained to pupils that because of the principle, the lower the basket is tilted, the less likely the ball is to stay in.