September STEM Café tackles the physics of football

Tommylee Lewis
Tommylee Lewis

Everyone knows that football is a physical game, but few people stop to think about the actual physics behind it. Newton’s laws describe football players on the field just as well as carts on a track or balls rolling down ramps.

And what better way to gain an understanding of bodies in motion than to watch a Huskie player smash through an opponent’s defensive line to score a game-winning touchdown?

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, STEM Café will present “The Physics of Football.” The talk will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Hwy. in DeKalb. This casual, family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from O’Leary’s.

This month’s speaker is Michael Eads, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and the Center for Secondary Science and Math Education at NIU. In addition to his work at NIU and research at Fermilab and CERN, Eads has been a lifelong football fan and an avid armchair quarterback.

“Physics is all around us,” Eads says. “The goal of physics is to describe how the world works, football included!”

He plans to discuss some basic concepts of physics and illustrate how an understanding of these concepts can lead to interesting insights on the game.

Michael Eads
Michael Eads

“If you’ve ever taken a course in physics, then you may remember terms such as velocity, momentum, force, impulse, collisions, and conservation laws. These basic physics concepts and many not-so-basic concepts are important, too, such as how air resistance affects the trajectory of a football in the air.”

During the talk, Eads will be joined by several players from NIU’s football team for a question-and-answer session on physics and football.

The STEM Café series is just one of the many engaging events NIU STEM Outreach hosts to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in everyday lives.

For more information on upcoming STEM Cafés and other events from NIU STEM Outreach, contact Judith Dymond at (815) 753-4751 or jdymond@niu.edu.

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