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Royal Society of Chemistry requests 'Italian Job' ending

***40-year-old movie spoiler alert***

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Science just has a way of trampling over the unexplained, whether this is welcomed or not. That even goes for the classic cliffhanger ending of the 1969 Michael Caine flick The Italian Job.

The gang's six-wheeled coach teeters halfway over an Alpine cliff. The stolen gold slides towards the rear door and oblivion. Charlie Croker's crew must decide whether to save themselves or attempt to rescue the ill-gotten Au.

The film ends with Caine's classic line: "Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea! Err..."

That's where the Royal Society of Chemistry wants creative fans with a bit of engineering skill to step in. The group is launching a contest to concoct scientific solutions to recover the gang's gold, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Contestants must assume that 30 minutes after Croker's last line, the bus will topple down the mountain. A 150-word minimum explanation, calculations, and a diagram must be included.

Difficulty: No helicopters allowed.

The contest is part of next year's 40th anniversary of the flick. The grand prize winner receives a three-night stay in Turin next spring. Three nights. These Royal Society folk clearly aren't in possession of a bus full of gold themselves.

Deadline for entries is January 1. Submissions can be emailed to edwardsj@rsc.org. ®

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