Sports

Category archives for Sports

On the Steering of Sleds

In the previous post about luge, I mentioned that there was one thing that came up when Rhett and I were talking about this, namely why there are differences in times between racers. The toy physics model I set up last time suggests that the difference between riders is only a matter of aerodynamics– two…

The Physics of Crazy Sleds

In the Uncertain Dots hangout the other day, Rhett and I went off on a tangent about the physics of the Olympics, specifically the luge. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically psycho sledding: people riding tiny little sleds down a curved track at 80mph. The “featured image” above shows Erin Hamlin of the…

Sports Are Science

Unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island for the last couple of weeks– or, you know, foreign– you’re probably at least dimly aware that the Super Bowl is this evening. This is the pinnacle of the football season, and also the cue for lots of people to take to social media proclaiming their contempt…

Fantasy Physics Season Preview

While I was away for the weekend, intending to mostly ignore the Internet, Steve Maier tweeted: #FantasyFootball ? What if #FantasyPhysics existed–who would be your picks? This, of course, ended up sucking up a huge amount of mental energy for the rest of the weekend, because it’s such perfect blog fodder. If I’d had a…

Wanted: The Hoosiers of Science

I’ve been revising a chapter on collaboration in science for the book-in-progress, making an analogy to team sports. And it occurred to me as I was trying to find a way to procrastinate, that while science is a highly collaborative endeavor, most of the popular stories that get told about science are not. There’s no…

Baseball Is Pretty Random

After Thursday’s post about sports and statistics, a friend from my Williams days, Dave Ryan, raised an objection on Facebook: There’s an unstated assumption (I think) in your analysis: that there is some intrinsic and UNALTERABLE statistical probability of getting a hit inherent in every hitter. If that is the case, then yes — a…

One of the chapters of the book-in-progress, as mentioned previously, takes the widespread use of statistics in sports as a starting point, noting that a lot of the techniques stat geeks use in sports are similar to those scientists use to share and evaluate data. The claim is that anyone who can have a halfway…

One of the great frustrations of my intellectual life, such as it is, is the problem of the disappearing quote. This is a function of having acquired a broad liberal education (in the sense of “liberal arts college” not the sense of “person to the left of Rush Limbaugh”) in a somewhat haphazard manner. My…

In which I get a little ranty about basketball. ———– Over at Slate, Matt Yglesias has a column about why everybody ignores the Spurs.: America—at least in its own imagination—stands for certain things. For the idea that hard work and sound judgment bring success, and that success deserves celebration. That winners should be celebrated as…

Some time back, I reviewed a cool book about Fermi problems by Aaron Santos, then a post-doc at Michigan. In the interim, he’s taken a faculty job at Oberlin, written a second book on sports-related Fermi problems, and started a blog, none of which I had noticed until he emailed me. Shame on me. Anyway,…