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Check out some physics and sport

By Matin Durrani


Ernest Rutherford used to enjoy “noisy and appalling” golf at Cambridge with his Trinity College colleagues. Niels Bohr was a keen footballer who played in goal for the top Danish side Akademisk Boldklub in the early 1900s. Arthur Eddington was a passionate cyclist who coined the “Eddington number”, E, which is the number of days on which you have cycled at least E miles. (He reached an incredible 84.) And, of course, CERN physicists are handily placed for a spot of Alpine hiking, climbing and skiing.

But for some physicists, sport is more than just something they take part in – it is what they study too. This month’s issue of Physics World looks at some of the challenges in the “physics of sport”, including:
• the effects of technology and rule change on sporting performance;
• the physics of the prosthetic devices that are leading disabled athletes like Oscar Pistorius to success;
• and how gymnasts, divers and long-jumpers are all unconscious masters of manipulating the law of conservation of angular momentum.

Members of the Institute of Physics (IOP) can enjoy the entire new issue online through the digital version of the magazine by following this link or by downloading the Physics World app onto your iPhone or iPad or Android device, available from the App Store and Google Play, respectively.

But for those of you who are not yet members of the IOP, to show you what you’re missing out on, we’re offering for a limited period only the opportunity to download a free PDF of the July issue via this link. The PDF version doesn’t contain all the features of the digital issue, which include reading articles in plain-text or page-view formats, the ability to share articles and have them read out loud, as well in-built multimedia content.

Remember that if you’re not yet a member, you can join the IOP as an imember for just £15, €20 or $25 a year via this link. Being an imember gives you a full year’s access to Physics World both online and through the apps.

Click here to download a free PDF of the July issue of Physics World.

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