The Physics of Baseball

Alan Nathan is a professor of Physics here at the campus of the University of Illinois. He’s lucky enough to devote a lot of his work on the study of baseball and the physics within. His website on The Physics of Baseball is chock full of white papers such as The Effect of Spin on the Flight of a Baseball, The
Physics of the Trampoline Effect in Baseball and Softball Bats
and other such esoteric matters of baseball science.

Nathan speaks on campus occasionally on his hobby work. As a matter of fact, on June 25, he will be talking on his latest work, Wood vs. Aluminum Bats. If you’re interested on his thoughts on the matter, you can read his paper on the subject.

If you live in the area, he will be speaking at 12:15pm on June 25 at room 144 Loomis Laboratory on the University of Illinois campus.

Followup: I stopped by Alan Nathan’s talk today. Walking into Loomis Lab reminded of my college days when I had to take Physics 100 course to fulfill my science equivalent. Nathan’s class was like the old days only with baseball.

There was a switch in topic in Nathan’s talk. He talked on the flight of the baseball both in midst of a pitch and after being hit. Admittedly, my physics is not up to par so some of it went over my head but it was very informational.

Nathan did mention that MLB gathers all kinds of data on all pitches and makes it available for download. Afterwards, he forwarded this link to Friar Watch which serves as a “how-to” on how download and make sense of the data,

Statheads, definitely check it out.


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