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Why does a knuckleball flutter? Why do belly flops hurt so much? Why would a quarterback prefer a deflated football?
Here are 54 all-star experiments that demonstrate the scientific principles powering a wide variety of sports and activities—and offer insights that can help you improve your own athletic skills. How does a black belt karate chop her way through a stack of bricks? Use Popsicle sticks to understand why it’s possible and learn the role played by Newton’s second law of motion. Does LeBron James really float through the air on the way to a dunk? Use a tennis ball, a paperback book, and the help of a friend to understand the science of momentum and the real meaning of hang time. Using common household objects, each project includes step-by-step instructions, tips, and a detailed explanation of how and why the experiment worked. It’s a win-win.
The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat—it’s all in the science.
About the Author
Sean Connolly is the author of the Totally Irresponsible Science series and dozens of other books for both children and adults. A father of three, he is in an ideal position to explain the nuts and bolts of these experiments. He lives in England.
“An engaging introduction to the principles of physics using well-chosen examples from the world of sports. For each sport science example, a simple do-it-yourself experiment (demonstration) is outlined which brings the applicable physics theory to life. Young curious readers will enjoy this book. Adults in the NFL head office might benefit from the section on deflated footballs.”
—JOHN URSCHEL, NFL offensive lineman and PhD candidate in mathematics at MIT
“The chatty tone, clear scientific explanations, and broad range of athletics discussed mean there’s something here for just about every kind of sports fan.” —Publishers Weekly
“Sports enthusiasts will find it entertaining, and science teachers could use examples to spice up their presentations. Worth the purchase just to learn the most effective angle to skip a stone across a water surface.” —Kirkus Reviews