Mathletics: A Scientist Explains 100 Amazing Things About the World of Sports

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 18, 2012 - Mathematics - 298 pages
4 Reviews

An entertaining, eye-opening guide to what math and physics can reveal about sports.

How can sprinter Usain Bolt break his world record without expending any additional effort? Which demands a faster reaction time, tennis or baseball? What dates of birth give rise to the best professional athletes? Is it better to have the inside or outside lane during a race? And how can you improve your balance just by changing your posture? Drawing on vivid, real-life examples, John D. Barrow shows how math and physics can give us surprising, often counterintuitive insights into the world of sports. For example, we learn that left-handed boxers have a statistical advantage over their right-handed opponents and that gymnasts performing the “giant swing” maneuver on the high bar experience stronger g-forces than roller-coaster designers are allowed to create. Thanks to lucid explanations and a healthy dose of humor, Mathletics is the perfect book for sports enthusiasts and math lovers alike.
 

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About a quarter of the "Science" in this book is crap. He has no understanding of how a bicycle wheel works or how spokes interact with turbulent wind. If he could not comprehend how to mathematically model something correctly, he simply ignored those aspects and then made generalizations that are frequently wrong.
It is an interesting read, just not good science.
 

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Ok. In most cases too many simplifications or not too illumating. Read full review

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Contents

Going Round the Bend
10
High jumping
23
Wheels on Fire
38
Gender Studies
53
Physics for Ground Staff
56
What Goes Up Must Come Down
58
Lefthanders versus Righthanders
62
Ultimate Polevaulting
64
Modern Pentathlon
165
Keeping Cool
168
Wheelchair Speeds
171
The War on Error
175
Matters of Gravity
178
Googling in the Caribbean
180
The Iceskating Paradox
184
Throwing the Discus
187

The Return of the Karate Kid
67
Leverage
69
Reach for the Sky
72
The Marathon
75
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
79
Dont Blink First
81
Pingpong Is Coming Home
83
A Walk on the Wild Side
86
Racing Certainties
90
What Is the Chance of Being Disqualified?
92
Rowing Has Its Moments
94
Rugby and Relativity
98
Run Rates
100
SquashiA Very Peculiar Practice
103
Faking It
107
A Sense of Proportion
109
Cushioning the Blow
112
Breaststrokers
114
That Crucial Point
118
Throwin in the Wind
120
The Twoheaded League
123
What a Racket
125
Size Matters
128
A Truly Weird Soccer Match
131
Twisting and Turning
133
The Wayward Wind
135
Windsurfing
139
Winning Medals
143
Why Are There Never World Records in Womens Track and Field?
146
The Zigzag Run
149
Cinderella Sports
151
Wheelchair Racing
153
The Equitempered Triathlon
157
The Madness of Crowds
160
Hydrophobic Polyurethane Swimsuits
163
Goal Differences
190
Is the Premier League Random?
194
Fancy GeariDoes It Help?
197
Triangles in the Water
200
The Illusion of Floating
203
The AntiMatthew Effect
206
Seeding Tournaments
209
Fixing Tournaments
211
Windassisted Marathons
212
Going Uphill
215
Psychological Momentum
218
Goals Goals Goals
221
Total Immersion
223
The Great British Soccer Team
227
Strange but True
231
Blade Runner
234
Pairing People Up
237
Ticket Scalpers
239
Skydiving
241
Running High
244
The Archers Paradox
247
Bend It Like Beckham
251
StopGo Tactics
255
Diving Is a Gas
257
Spring Is in the Air
259
The Toss of the Coin
262
What Sports Should Be in the Olympics?
265
The Cat Paradox
267
Things That Fly Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease
270
Some Like It Hot
273
The Bounce 0f the SuperBall
276
Thinking Inside the Box
280
Notes
283
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About the author (2012)

John D. Barrow is professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is the best-selling author of many books on science and mathematics, including Mathletics: 100 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know about the World of Sports and 100 Essential Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know: Math Explains Your World.

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