Synopses & Reviews
How can sprinter Usain Bolt break his world record without expending any additional effort? Which demands a faster reaction time, tennis or baseball? What dates of birth give rise to the best professional athletes? Is it better to have the inside or outside lane during a race? And how can you improve your balance just by changing your posture? Drawing on vivid, real-life examples, John D. Barrow shows how math and physics can give us surprising, often counterintuitive insights into the world of sports. For example, we learn that left-handed boxers have a statistical advantage over their right-handed opponents and that gymnasts performing the "giant swing" maneuver on the high bar experience stronger g-forces than roller-coaster designers are allowed to create. Thanks to lucid explanations and a healthy dose of humor, is the perfect book for sports enthusiasts and math lovers alike.
"Barrow delivers the math and science goods for every sports fan who's ever wondered how to 'Bend It Like Beckham' or what the best positions are to reduce air resistance while sky-diving. The book contains 100 short essays explaining a variety of sports-related topics, such as various applications of statistics, the physics of wheelchair racing, how different scoring methods affect the outcome of multievent sports like the decathlon, and how a new rule led to 'the most bizarre soccer match ever played.' There's no formal organization, so the two-to-five-page-long essays are perfect for dipping into at the reader's whim. One moment Barrow is elucidating how organizations use math to determine tournament seeds, the next he's calculating whether runner and double amputee Oscar Pistorius's artificial limbs give him an advantage in sprinting events. Not everything is about math, however. Essays on Olympic trivia reveal that the marathon's distance wasn't standardized until 1921. Barrow's writing is accessible and entertaining, just the thing for mathematically minded sports fans. 40 illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An entertaining, eye-opening guide to what math and physics can reveal about sports.
About the Author
John D. Barrow is professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University. He has written many highly acclaimed books on science and mathematics, including One Hundred Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know, Cosmic Imagery, and The Book of Universes. He received the 2008 Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication. He lives in Cambridge, England.