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A FUN General Education Course: Physics of Sports J. Eric Goff Lynchburg College My Background High School: Physics or Baseball? and … Graduate School at Indiana University Assisted John Carini in “Physics of Sports” (1998-1999) and …

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my background
My Background
  • High School: Physics or Baseball?
slide3
and …
  • Graduate School at Indiana University
  • Assisted John Carini in “Physics of Sports” (1998-1999)
slide4
and …
  • Senior project at Kenyon College (1999-2000): Physics of a Pitched Baseball
  • Long chat with David Griffing (Miami, OH) in summer 2000 at Kenyon.
physics of sports at oberlin college
Physics of Sportsat Oberlin College
  • Satisfied ½ of general education science requirement (one semester course).
  • Prerequisite: Algebra
  • Student profile: Nonscience major!
  • Fall 2000: 6 Students
  • Fall 2001: 24 Students (Not bad for Oberlin!)
textbooks
Textbooks
  • The Dynamics of Sports by David F. Griffing
  • The Physics of Baseball by Robert K. Adair
course description
Course Description
  • Reading and homework assigned each week from Griffing and Adair.
  • Focus mostly on mechanics.
  • Many different sports discussed (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming, tennis, sumo wrestling, hockey, weight lifting, cycling, boating, track & field, skating, gymnastics, etc.)
  • Lecture demonstrations a must!
  • Sports videos almost every class.
assessment
Assessment
  • Homework (20%)
  • Two large midterm exams (45%)
  • Course participation (5%)
  • Bring in a video (5%)
  • No final!! Semester-long course project (25%)
video example
Video Example
  • 1982 Stanford-Cal Football Game
another example
Another example …
  • 1984 Doug Flutie Hail Mary Pass in Miami

→ 62-yard pass, t  3s

→ and

course projects
Course Projects
  • Coefficient of Restitution (Popular!): baseballs, basketballs, tennis balls, racquetballs, cricket balls → vary surfaces, temperature, pressure
  • What is best way to run a mile? (Student also analyzed the turns!)
  • Coach’s advice for hockey dribbling: Practice with a golf ball on concrete. What is the physics?
slide12
More …
  • What is horsepower for pushing a football sled?
  • Physics of Tennis Rackets (sweet spot, etc.)
  • What is the trajectory of a dart?
  • Physics of Bicycles
  • Analysis of Bowling
successes
Successes
  • Students love demonstrations!
  • Bringing in videos assist students in connecting the material to the sports world.
  • Physics of Sports became the subject of two newspaper articles:

“Not Just Bio 101” – Crain’s Cleveland Business (10/15/01)

“Famous Flutie Pass Now In Its Own Class” – Boston College Chronicle (11/01/01)

future goals
Future Goals
  • Teach Physics of Sports at Lynchburg College
  • Continue Physics of Sports Projects with Students (freshman to senior physics majors)
  • Write a Physics of Sports Textbook (Wait for tenure!!)