Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports

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JHU Press, Dec 1, 2010 - Science - 232 pages
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Nothing is quite as thrilling as watching superior athletes do the seemingly impossible. From Doug Flutie's "Hail Mary" pass to Lance Armstrong's record-breaking climb of Alp d'Huez to David Beckham's astounding ability to bend a soccer kick, we marvel and wonder, "How did they do that?" Well, physics professor John Eric Goff has the answers.

This tour of the wide world of sports uses some of the most exhilarating feats in recent athletic history to make basic physics concepts accessible and fun. Goff discusses the science behind American football, soccer, cycling, skating, diving, long jumping, and a host of other competitive sports. Using elite athletes such as Greg Louganis and Bob Beamon as starting points, he explains in clear, lively language the basic physical properties involved in amazing and everyday athletic endeavors. Accompanied by illustrations and mathematical equations, each chapter builds on knowledge imparted in earlier portions of the book to provide a firm understanding of the concepts involved.

Fun, witty, and imbued throughout with admiration for the simple beauty of physics, Gold Medal Physics is sure to inspire readers to think differently about the next sporting event they watch.

 

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Contents

1 The PreGame Show
1
Vectors and How to Think Like a Physicist
15
Gravity and Projectiles
30
Simplifying the Complicated
45
More Projectiles and Angular Momentum
67
Rotations in Water Sports
90
OffCenter Kicking and the Magnus Force
119
Centripetal Motion and Lift
145
Caloric Consumption and Linear Momentum
174
10 The PostGame Show
196
Further Reading
207
Index
211
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About the author (2010)

John Eric Goff is an associate professor of physics and chair of the physics department at Lynchburg College.

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