Friday, August 3, 2012

The Physics of the Olympics

The 4th edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology begins in Chapter 1 with a discussion of biomechanics. Of course, biomechanics is essential for understanding the physics of sports, but Russ Hobbie and I barely even begin to consider this vast topic. With the Olympic games going on in London, I decided to provide references to several papers from my favorite journal, the American Journal of Physics, about the physics of the Olympics. Most of these, and many others, can be found in Cliff Frohlich’s excellent resource letter, which leads off the list.
For those readers who don’t have access to the American Journal of Physics, here is a website from NBC news, developed with help from the National Science Foundation, about the science of the summer Olympics.

I saw a review of The Science of Sports: Winning in the Olympics this week from The Scientist.

Here is a nice explanation with video of the physics of the high jump on the Science Friday website.

Finally, for all of you who—like me—fell asleep last night before Gabby Douglas (the “flying squirrel”) won her individual all-around gold medal in women’s gymnastics, here is a video of her winning floor routine.

Gabrielle Douglas, London 2012 Olympics.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great links.

    Reminds of the University of Chicago problems in the Enrico Fermi era, e.g., "What is the deepest hole you could dig?"

    Look forward to seeing the Usain Bolt discussion--what is the fastest 100 meters you could possibly run?