No Mr Bond, I Expect you to Drive

Posted by er134 at Jul 03, 2013 11:13 AM |
University of Leicester Physics Students investigate the famous ejector seat in Goldfinger

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 July 2013

You can listen to and download a podcast on the students’ research here:

In the 1964 film Goldfinger, James Bond is involved in a car chase with one of the villain’s henchmen who he ejects from the Aston Martin DB5.

The ejector seat is seen to accelerate the passenger of the DB5 through an opening in the roof and into the air.

But what force would need to be exerted by the ejector seat?

James Nelms, Declan Roberts, Suzanne Thomas and David Starkey – a group of fourth year MPhys students investigated this very question.

Their paper, No Mr Bond I Expect You To Drive, was published in the latest volume of the University of Leicester’s Journal of Physics Special Topics.

The journal is published every year, and features original short papers written by students as part of their four-year Master of Physics degree.

The students are encouraged to be imaginative with their topics, and the aim is for them to learn about aspects of publishing and peer review.

The team first studied the trajectory of the henchman in the film footage. They worked out the highest point the henchmen reached when ejected from the seat by measuring the pixels in the screenshots and comparing against the known height of the car.

Using the maximum height of 2.37 m the team then modelled the motion of the ejected henchman.

They found that the force and pressure required to eject a typical henchman from an Aston Martin DB5 were 1930 N and 8870 Pa respectively if the henchman were ejected via a hydraulic piston exerting a constant force.

David Starkey, a member of the team said: “I really enjoyed working on this topic; the idea actually came about when one of my team members was watching the new James Bond, Skyfall.

“Our plan initially was to examine the optics involved in Die Another Day’s Aston Martin “Vanish”; it turned out we couldn’t see anything in it. Perhaps next year’s edition of the journal might make the physics involved more transparent!”

Course leader Dr Mervyn Roy, a lecturer at the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “A lot of the papers published in the Journal are on subjects that are amusing, topical, or a bit off-the-wall. Our fourth years are nothing if not creative!

“But, to be a research physicist - in industry or academia - you need to show some imagination, to think outside the box, and this is certainly something that the module allows our students to practice.

“Many of our masters students hope to go on to careers in research where a lot of their time will be taken up with scientific publishing - writing and submitting papers, and writing and responding to referee reports.

“This is another area where the module really helps. Because Physics Special Topics is run exactly like a professional journal, the students get the chance to develop all the skills they will need when dealing with high profile journals like Nature or Science later on in life.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact:  Dr Mervyn Roy on:


David Starkey on:


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