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Gold Medal Physics

Nothing is quite as thrilling as watching superior athletes do the seemingly impossible. From Doug Flutie's "Hail Mary" pass to Lance Armstrong's record-breaking climb of Alp d'Huez to David Beckham's astounding ability to bend a soccer kick, we marvel and wonder, "How did they do that?" Well, physics professor John Eric Goff has the answers. This tour of the wide world of sports uses some of the most exhilarating feats in recent athletic history to make basic physics concepts accessible and fun. Goff discusses the science behind American football, soccer, cycling, skating, diving, long jumping, and a host of other competitive sports. Using elite athletes such as Greg Louganis and Bob Beamon as starting points, he explains in clear, lively language the basic physical properties involved in amazing and everyday athletic endeavors. Accompanied by illustrations and mathematical equations, each chapter builds on knowledge imparted in earlier portions of the book to provide a firm understanding of the concepts involved. Fun, witty, and imbued throughout with admiration for the simple beauty of physics, Gold Medal Physics is sure to inspire readers to think differently about the next sporting event they watch.
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About the Author

John Eric Goff is an associate professor of physics and chair of the physics department at Lynchburg College.


Mathematically minded readers who've always wondered how great athletes do what they do will learn from Goff how to "view the world of sports through the lens of physics." Goff, a sports enthusiast and Lynchburg College physics professor, is more than comfortable analyzing a variety of feats of physical prowess, such as a spectacular play in the final seconds of a legendary 1982 Stanford-Berkeley college football game. After analyzing that play with its five lateral passes, Goff moves on to stage 16 of Lance Armstrong's 2004 Tour de France win, and a record-breaking long jump by Bob Beamon at the 1968 Summer Olympics. While the discussion of the mechanics of angular momentum using the spins and rotations of ice skating and diving (Katarina Witt and Greg Louganis, respectively) will be familiar to nearly anyone who's read a physics textbook, Goff surprises with chapters on how to "bend it like Beckham," win at sumo wrestling, and use statistics and probability to predict college football outcomes. Sports fans with a knowledge of geometry and trigonometry will enjoy Goff's cheerful revisiting of memorable athletic events. 70 illus. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Goff... is more than comfortable analyzing a variety of feats of physical prowess... Sports fans with a knowledge of geometry and trigonometry will enjoy Goff's cheerful revisiting of memorable athletic events. Publishers Weekly A lively, pleasant read with plenty of real physics and mathematical details. American Journal of Physics Sports libraries will find this engrossing. Midwest Book Review How athletes, Olympian and otherwise, perform some of their most amazing physical feats. Science News

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