Ballparking: Practical Math for Impractical Sports Questions

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Running Press, May 1, 2012 - Mathematics - 224 pages
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How fat would you need to be to completely block a hockey goal? How much weight could you lift if you were ant-sized? How hard would you have to hit a baseball to hit the Goodyear blimp? In this amusing and enlightening book of offbeat sports estimations, physicist Aaron Santos poses these and many other outrageous problems and shows how to answer them with Enrico Fermi’s method of approximation. Covering a wide range of sports—from football, baseball, basketball, and hockey to more far-flung sports like curling and competitive eating—these amusing estimations make boring old math fun and informative.

Whether you’re a rabid sports fan, math junkie, trivia-loving math hater, or a frustrated Sunday-paper puzzle lover, with the right formula and a little imagination you can start estimating on some of the most bizarre—and previously unanswered—sports trivia, while learning how to answer your own sports questions that have kept you up at night.


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About the author (2012)

Aaron Santos received a Ph.D. in Physics from Boston University in 2007, and is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Oberlin College. He is the author of How Many Licks?: Or How to Estimate Damn Near Anything, and enjoys writing his Diary of Numbers blog ( He lives in Oberlin, Ohio.

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