25 August 2011

Interview on iTunes

On 28 July 2011, I was interviewed by Bruce Berglund of New Books in Sports, which is part of the New Books Network.  A brief story behind the interview may be found here.  The 62-minute interview became available at the New Books in Sports website on 24 August 2011.  It is also available on iTunes here.

The interview was a lot of fun!  Bruce and I discussed portions of my book, including Flutie's famous Hail Mary pass, laterals in American Football, soccer aerodynamics associated with Beckham's free kicks, Beamon's famous Olympic long jump, modeling the Tour de France, and what happens when a diver like Louganis enters the water (see my book cover).  We also talked about topics outside my book, like baseball flight physics and the controversies surrounding the Jabulani ball used in the 2010 World Cup.  I had a little time to talk about the 2011 Tour de France.

We closed the interview with discussion about my current work, namely my investigations into boundary-layer separation on a soccer ball.  As I mentioned in the interview, if there are young people out there wishing to do research in sports physics, think about studying in the physics department at Lynchburg College.

23 August 2011


I just experienced the second earthquake of my life.  This one was bigger than the one I felt about seven years ago.  Click here for a link to the United States Geological Survey data of the Virginia earthquake of 23 August 2011.  The earthquake's magnitude was 5.9.  Just like the logarithmic scale I mentioned for sound loudness in my last post, earthquake magnitudes are also on a logarithmic scale.

21 August 2011


I needed a break after the Tour de France ended.  My family took a fortnight-long holiday in the first half of August; I only got back to work last Thursday (18 August).  This is my first post since returning from holiday, and there will be very little physics in this one.

On 5 September I will turn 41.  My wonderful wife, Susan, treated me to an early birthday present yesterday (20 August).  She took me to my very first rock concert!  To top it all off, I got to see my favorite band, Journey.  We saw Night Ranger and Foreigner open for Journey at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It was one of the best nights of my life!  We had great seats -- eighth row in the second section of reserved seating.

Night Ranger played a short set, including, of course, Sister Christian.  Foreigner was fantastic!  They played a bunch of classic hits.  By the time Journey got on the stage, I was acclimated to my first rock concert.  The noise was deafening at times.  Loudness levels were certainly above 100 dB.  Recall that loudness is measured on a logarithmic scale.  Pain at all frequencies occurs around 130 dB.  I wish I had a sound meter with me last night, but I would have been kicked out for being too nerdy!  Sound levels surely approached pain threshold a few times at our concert.  I now have a first-hand feeling for why so many rock musicians suffer hearing damage.

When asked about physics and sports, I always tell people to enjoy the sporting moment first, and then think about the physics later (even if just a minute later).  Physics is meant to enhance our enjoyment of the natural world; it is not meant to displace one's emotional experience of life.  I thought about sound levels only after our concert was over.  During the concert, I was mesmerized watching and listening to Journey play.  Seeing and hearing Neal Schon play a guitar in front me is something I will never forget.  At 57 the man's axe-work is still top notch.

After seeing scores of classical music concerts, I have now seen a rock concert.  So what if I did not see my first rock concert until I was nearly 41?!?  Better late than never, right?

I plan to add more sports physics posts in the near future.  For now, my ears need a little rest.  One piece of advice I can offer:  SEE JOURNEY LIVE IN CONCERT!!!