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The Physics of Fun: The Science of Sport

Science Reference Section
Science, Technology and Business Division
Library of Congress


The sports we play are potent examples, which demonstrate the influence of the laws of motion, conservation of energy, drag, inertia, friction and other scientific concepts in our daily lives. This guide lists print resources on the scientific and mathematical principles underlying various professional sports. Selections focus on physics, but many discuss biology, chemistry, engineering, kinesiology, physiology and other scientific disciplines. Materials are chosen for high school students or casual readers. This guide is a companion to Spotlight on Sports: Exploring Science in the Games We Play.

Goff, John Eric. Gold medal physics: the science of sports. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 214 p.
   GV558.G64 2010

Newton at the bat: the science in sports. Edited by Eric W. Schrier and William F. Allman. Rev. ed. New York, Scribner's, 1987. 205 p.
   GV558.N48 1987 / FLM 2015 175503

Ross, Stewart. Higher, further, faster: is technology improving sport? Chichester, Eng., Hoboken, NJ, Wiley/Dana Centre, c2008. 364 p.
   GV745.R67 2008 / FLS 2015 058117

Why a curveball curves: the incredible science of sports. Edited by Frank Vizard. New York, Hearst Books, c2008. 224 p.
   GV558.P67 2008

Winston, Wayne L. Mathletics: how gamblers, managers, and sports enthusiasts use mathematics in baseball, basketball, and football. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, c2009. 358 p.
   GV706.8.W56 2009

Adair, Robert K. The physics of baseball. 3rd ed., rev., updated, and expanded. New York, Perennial, c2002. 169 p.
   QC26.A23 2002 FT MEADE

Fontanella, John Joseph. The physics of basketball. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 150 p.
   QC26.F66 2006 LANDOVR

Glaskin, Max. Cycling science: how rider and machine work together. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2012. 192 p.
   GV1041.G53 2012 / FLM 2014 049561

Fly Fishing
Ulanski, Stan L. The science of fly-fishing. Charlottesville, University of Virginia Press, 2003. 204 p.
   SH456.U43 2003

Gay, Timothy J. Football physics: the science of the game. [Emmaus, PA], Rodale, c2004. 290 p.
   GV959.G39 2004 <SciRR>

Golf science: optimum performance from tee to green. Edited by Mark F. Green. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2013. 192 p.
   GV965.S654 2013

Wesson, John. The science of golf. Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press, 2009. 273 p.
    GV965.W377 2009

Haché, Alain. The physics of hockey. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, c2002. 184 p.
   QC28.H23 2002 FT MEADE

Motor Sport
Leslie-Pelecky, Diandra L. The physics of NASCAR: how to make steel + gas + rubber = speed. New York, Dutton, c2008. 286 p.
   TL236.28.L47 2008

Kimball, John. Physics of sailing. Boca Raton, FL, CRC, c2010. 277 p.
VK543.K52 2010

Taylor, John. The science of soccer: a bouncing ball and a banana kick. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2014. 99 p.
   QC26.T39 2014 <SciRR>

Wesson, John. The science of soccer. New York, Taylor & Francis, 2002. 199 p.
    QC26.W47 2002 LANDOVR

Butt, Tony. Surf science: an introduction to waves for surfing. 3rd ed. Honolulu, University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014.
136 p.
   GC211.2.B88 2014 / FLM 2015 001694

Rowland, Thomas W. Tennisology: inside the science of serves, nerves, and on-court dominance. Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics, 2014. 196 p.
    GV1002.9.P75R69 2014 / FLM 2014 157275

Gourley, Jim. Faster: demystifying the science of triathlon speed. Boulder, CO, Velo Press, 2013. 197 p.
   GV1060.73.G68 2013 / FLM 2014 051048

Winter Sports
Denny, Mark. Gliding for gold: the physics of winter sports. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. 189 p.
   QC73.D46 2011

Lind, David, and Scott P. Sanders. The physics of skiing: skiing at the triple point. 2nd ed. New York, Springer, c2004. 266 p.
   QC26.L56 2004

Compiled by Sean Bryant,
December 2015

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