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Batter Up! Sept. 14 STEM Café to bring physics perspective to baseball

September 7, 2016
Dr. Jahred Adelman

Dr. Jahred Adelman

Pop quiz time, baseball fans: What makes curveballs curve? Do knuckleballs really flutter, as the announcers say? Do “rising fastballs” really rise?

At the next NIU STEM Café, “Batter Up! The Physics of Baseball,” NIU particle physicist Dr. Jahred Adelman will answer these questions and more, exploring how Newton’s Laws of Motion illuminate aspects of the game. The free event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6:45 – 8:45 p.m., at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N Broadway, in Aurora.

“There is a huge amount of interesting physics happening on the ball field every second,” says Adelman, a longtime baseball aficionado. “Learning the science that drives what happens on the field makes the game even more magical, exciting and impressive. You learn what amazing intuitive physicists the best players are!”

Before joining the NIU faculty two years ago, Adelman lived in Switzerland, where he worked at the CERN Large Hadron Collider as a Yale University postdoctoral research fellow, analyzing the universe’s most fundamental particles at a microscopic level.

But don’t worry, he says. His talk won’t involve any math or equations. “All you need is the basic Newtonian concepts to understand almost anything happening on the field, whether it’s an amazing knuckleball, an all-out sprint to third base or the effect of a stadium’s altitude on how the ball moves through the air.”

Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Two Brothers.

STEM Cafés occur monthly and are one of many programs offered through NIU STEAM Works, part of the university’s Center for P-20 Engagement. Found across the country, STEM Cafés provide an opportunity to learn about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are a part of our everyday lives. 

STEM Cafés are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact Judy Dymond at [email protected] or 815-753-4751.