Physics of Sports

Simulation Collection

Version 3.0 for Windows & Mac

John Di Bartolo, Polytechnic Institute of NYU

Physics of Sports is a collection of computer simulations that illustrate the role played by physics principles in many popular sports. Each simulation models a particular sport with the student given full control over the relevant variables, creating a highly interactive tool to perform in-depth studies. Physics of Sports may be used as an instructor lead demonstration in front of the classroom, or used by students as a computer-based lab activity.

With a high-degree of physical accuracy and versatility built into each simulation, students can explore the answer to such questions as: how is the velocity of a batted ball influenced by the mass of the bat and the contact point along the bat, how does body configuration affect the rotation of a platform diver, what is the most forgiving angle at which to shoot a basketball, or how does top-spin or back-spin affect the way a ball bounces?

Developed with the goal of capturing student interest, the program contains 15 stand-alone simulations that model physics principles from a variety of sports: basketball, baseball, gymnastics, diving, biking, downhill skiing, weight lifting, and many more.

Each simulation contains four components:
(1) Experiment screen where input parameters are varied and the resulting motion is animated.
(2) Advanced screen where results can be analyzed with the aid of graphs.
(3) Theory screen that details the physics principles and equations governing the sport.
(4) Guide screen that provides detailed student guidance for performing the investigation.

Three new simulations in version 3.0:

Physics of Sports Simulations:
  • Baseball: Swinging a Bat
    (Conservation of Linear and Angular Momentum)
  • Baseball: Batted Ball's Trajectory
    (Projectile Motion, Air Resistance)
  • Baseball: Pitching a Curveball
    (Projectile Motion, Magnus Force)
  • Basketball: Bounce Pass with Rotation
    (Impulse, Kinetic Friction)
  • Basketball: Variables in Shooting a Basket
    (Projectile Motion)
  • High Dive: Diver Rotation and Body Configuration
    (Conservation of Angular Momentum, Moment of Inertia)
  • Downhill Skiing
    (Newton's Second Law, Kinetic Friction, Mechanical Energy)
  • Race Car: Traveling on a Banked Curve
    (Newton's Second Law, Centripetal Acceleration, Static Friction)
  • Gymnastics: Swinging on High Bar
    (Torque, Angular Momentum)
  • Bicycling: Pedaling Uphill with Varying Gear Ratios
    (Force, Torque, Mechanical Energy)
  • Weightlifting: Bicep Curl
    (Torque, Work, Power)
  • Vertical Jump: Attaining Maximum Height
    (Force, Torque, Moment of Inertia, Angular Velocity)
  • Billiard Balls: Collisions with Friction & Angular Velocity
    (Conservation of Momentum, Impulse, Kinetic Friction, Rolling Motion)
  • Bungee Jumper: Force and Acceleration Analysis
    (Free-Fall Motion, Drag Force, Simple Harmonic Motion)
  • Circular Hammer Throw
    (Rotational Motion, Centripetal and Tangential Acceleration)

View Demo Simulations

Pricing: (Perpetual License) System Requirements:
Single User: $189.00
Lab-10 License: $389.00
Lab-30 License: $579.00
Unlimited Site License: $790.00

Unlimited Site License allows an unlimited number of computers to run the software at one site, student take-home privileges are granted with this license only.
  • Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Mac OS X  10.5 -10.9
  • Pricing shown is a one-time fee for perpetual license.
  • Software comes on Windows/Mac cross-platform CD.