Winter Sports

Our Review of the Week brings a physics perspective to classic winter sports

Gliding for Gold: The Physics of Winter Sports

Denny, Mark. Johns Hopkins, 2011
189p, 9781421402147 $65.00, 9781421402154 $30.00

Gliding for Gold: The Physics of Winter Sports book cover

Winter Olympics fans with an interest or background in physics may find much to appreciate in this book. Denny, a theoretical physicist and popular science writer (e.g., Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun, CH, Sep’11, 49-0228; Float Your Boat!, CH, Apr’09, 46-4511) provides an enthusiastic, almost breezy tour of the rules, art, and science of skating, hockey, curling, skiing, and snowboarding. He first discusses the sometimes-baffling physics of snow and ice. Next, in each sport, the author examines in detail the design of the equipment and its interaction with snow and ice, along with considerations of aerodynamic drag. The book includes photos and charts. Though some of the math is in the main body of the text, most is given in technical notes at the end, where some derivations are sketched in outline. Gliding for Gold may not have enough detail for those who enjoy thorough mathematical derivations, but for the scientifically inclined reader it provides an interesting window on the science of winter sports.

Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate students of all levels and general readers.
Reviewer: K. D. Fisher, Columbus State Community College
Subject: Science & Technology – Physics
Choice Issue: Mar 2012