Fastballs, Flips, and Physics
Science on the Sandlot


BROADCAST DATE: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2004

Have you ever wondered about those raised red, cotton stitches on a baseball? Sure, they hold the cowhide cover together, but did you know they also teach an interesting lesson in aerodynamics? What goes up must come down; that's why velocity, air temperature, gravity, and altitude are all fascinating factors in a batter's ability to launch a longball. Catching up to a pitch hurled at 100 miles per hour and sending it into orbit is a surprisingly scientific feat. Join us in Jupiter, Florida, where spring training 2004 becomes both classroom and clinic to explore physics and nature through our National Pastime.

Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith hosts your interaction with instructors, scientists, and stars of the game who bring textbook principles to life through the intricacies of hitting, pitching, running, and fielding. Kinetic energy abounds in the field trip, where participants can bounce from batting cage to the bullpen to the base paths in discovering the game's "sweet spots" - also known as the node and center of percussion.

Could Isaac Newton catch a pop fly? And what's the major league math behind wood versus aluminum bats? Keep your eye on the ball to hit these and other lessons in this exciting road trip.

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