Western Reserve Public Media







Video Overview

Baseball is a game played with beautiful simplicity. But beneath that simplicity lay some rather complex physics.

The Pitch
The first program in this series takes a look at the physics of the pitch. There's a lot of exciting physics to explore in the 60-feet-6-inch path from the pitching rubber -- 10 inches above the playing field -- to the batter standing at home plate. The Pitch takes a look at gravity, air drag and the Magnus force (three forces controlling trajectory once the pitcher releases the ball) and how the pitcher can use these forces to manipulate the path of the ball.

The Hit
The second video picks up where the first one left off; this one emphasizes the perspective of energy. The Hit focuses on kinetic energy, the coefficient of restitution and Newton's laws of motion, as well as how the quantity of energy of speed and mass changes as a result of the batter hitting the ball.

Running the Bases
What's baseball without players running the bases? The third program looks at how ball players apply Newton's first and second laws when they are running the bases. While base running is strictly between the runner and the clock and has nothing to do with the forces between the bat and ball, there's still plenty of physics to explore. Running the Bases takes a look at the concepts of force, mass, inertia and acceleration.

The Flight
The final program is devoted to the ball's flight after the batter's hit. The Flight takes into consideration perfect projectile motion, launch angle, air drag, turbulence, temperature, air density and, of course, the Magnus force -- all the factors that go into sending a baseball from home plate over the fence more than 350 feet away.

Copyright©2004, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.