Physics of Sports (REMOTE)

Course Code
PHYS 1130
Richard Lindgren

This course is a study of the aerial motion of spinning projectiles in sports such as soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball, football, track and field, dancing, etc. We also include swimming/diving and rolling/sliding objects along flat surfaces such as in billiards and ice hockey. You will learn about the force of gravity, drag and Magnus forces, and air flow around spinning objects. We will learn how to apply the concepts of velocity, pressure differences, inertia and momentum, and velocity of center of mass motion for uniform acceleration. We will not focus on physics derivations. The focus will be on understanding motion in sports through models, cartoons, and solving simple problems. At the conclusion you will understand: how to determine the hang time of a slam dunker and punted football; why going low is the best option for blocking/tackling in football; how to optimize your chances of making a three pointer; why dimples on a golf ball or stitches on a baseball reduce the drag force; how to hit the best drop shot; and why a ballet dancer seems to float across the floor. Perhaps, you can gain a competitive advantage in athletics.