Football Physics

Dr. Tim Gay (Hosted by Kelton), University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This talk discusses a series of one-minute physics lectures given to the ~ 9 x 104 fans that attend the University of Nebraska home football games.  Lecture topics have included Newton’s Laws of Motion (blocking and tackling), projectile motion (kicking and punting), kinematics (open-field running), and the ideal gas law (why not fill the football with helium to get better hangtime?).  Laboratory demonstrations have featured Professor Gay being tackled by a 370 pound lineman, pummeled with a sledgehammer as he lies on a bed of nails, and learning the finer points of passing from Heisman trophy winner Eric Crouch.   The problem of simultaneous edification and amusement of the fan in the stands is considered.