In the early spring of 1995 the quarterly Radcliffe College Alumni Magazine
featured a cover story on working women in the ‘90s. The unusual cover
depicts a young woman pushing on a glass ceiling. Assume that she is not
moving. Give three reasons why the women’s position in this cover photo
would be impossible. What physical laws or principles are being violated?
How do you think this photograph might have been made?
Note: click on the link to see the cover photo.
The woman in the actual picture defies the law of gravity. It is impossible for someone to stay attached to a vertical wall, in a position that is almost parallel to this wall, without slipping, regardless the friction force between woman's foot and wall would be.
Though, there exists one important fact that shows that the woman in the picture does not defy the universal law of gravity, but the picture is presented upside down. If you look at the woman's hair, you can notice that the hair actually indicates you the direction of the force of gravity, since the hair is attracted by the gravity force, toward the floor.
Hence, in reality, the glass ceiling is actually a floor of a room and the woman in the picture stands in her hands with her foot put against the vertical wall.