Introducing the Science of Pro Football

Posted on 06/14/2011 02:34 PM

Scientific American

Passing, blocking, running, tackling, kicking--the main physical actions of American football illustrate several fundamental concepts in physics, biomechanics and math. Inertia, momentum, vectors and parabolas are as much a part of the game as helmets and huddles.

In partnership with the National Science Foundation and the National Football League, NBC Learn has created 10 videos that explore several concepts:

* Newton's three laws of motion
* The Pythagorean theorem
* Projectile motion
* Vectors
* Geometric shapes
* Kinematics
* Torque
* Hydration and nutrition

All this week, we'll be providing additional stories that take the concepts explored in the video further. Here's a sampling:

1. When is a straight line not the shortest distance between two points?
2. How many pounds of water does an NFL player lose on the field?
3. Why has soccer-style placekicking replaced the straight-ahead, toe style?
4. How much energy does it take to stop a running back?
5. When it comes to a chase, how are ball carriers like zebras? (The real kind, not the ones with a whistle and yellow flag in their pockets.)
6. What shapes fly best?

So next weekend, when you are watching your favorite team square off with the opponent, you might have a chance to say the vector of the prolate spheroid perfectly traced a planned parabolic trajectory.

For full coverage visit: Scientific American.

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