All the Right Angles: From Gear Ratios to Calculating Odds: Mathematics in the World of Sports

by Joel Levy

Firefly Books | August 1, 2013 | Hardcover

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A visual reference to the mathematics of sports.

Any definition of sport begins with the term "physical". Motion, power, energy and momentum are the driving forces of physics, and numbers govern all sports. People and objects move in lines and curves, geometry determines progress, times are recorded, points counted, scores calculated. Without understanding numbers, it is impossible to understand sport. Athletes should be interested in the mathematics of sport for the simple reason that it can help them win. For fans, it brings greater enjoyment from their favorite sport.

All the Right Angles is a fun, fascinating and highly visual book that explains the mathematical and scientific principles in sports. With a clear infographics approach, the book never burdens readers with too many numbers and formulas or slows them down with jargon. Instead, dynamic layouts, bold and colorful diagrams and minimal text promote easy comprehension.

There are four parts with self-contained spreads that cover 89 topics in all. They include:

  • Power and Motion: Basketball and Conservation of Energy; Ball Games and the Magnus Effect; Football and Newtonian Physics of Collision; Squash and Gas Pressure; Cycling and Gyroscopes
  • Angles, Trajectories and Geometry: Mathematics of a Golf Shot; Pool and Tangent Lines; Auto Racing and Distance; Baseball and Trajectories; Cycling and Gradients
  • Numbers and Statistics: Statistics in Baseball; Mathematics and Fantasy Football; Game Theory and Fencing; The Statistics of Home Advantage
  • Mathematics, Biology and Environment: Effects of Tennis Court Surfaces; Horsepower; Skydiving and Terminal Velocity; Fencing, Tennis and Reaction Speeds; Hydration and Performance.

    Eight "Sports by Numbers" feature spreads cover baseball, football, rugby, golf, cricket, soccer, tennis and Formula 1. Throughout the book are facts, statistics, trivia and little-known anecdotes that will entertain all sport fans and athletes.

    Sports offer a unique and engaging way into an intimidating topic that many people have written off as "too hard." The games we love have an unrivalled power to turn us on to the beauty of numbers. All the Right Angles is a highly entertaining introduction to that power for the mathematically-minded, the science buff and the curious reader alike.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.75 × 8.75 × 0.88 in

Published: August 1, 2013

Publisher: Firefly Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1770851968

ISBN - 13: 9781770851962

Found in: Science and Nature

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– More About This Product –

All the Right Angles: From Gear Ratios to Calculating Odds: Mathematics in the World of Sports

by Joel Levy

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.75 × 8.75 × 0.88 in

Published: August 1, 2013

Publisher: Firefly Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1770851968

ISBN - 13: 9781770851962

Read from the Book

Introduction Did you know that the oldest known soccer ball dates to 1540 C.E., that the British cyclist Bradley Wiggins climbed the equivalent of a 62-mile-high mountain in training for the 2012 Tour de France, or that a pronghorn antelope would finish galloping the 800-meter race while the world record-holding human was only one-third of the way round the running track? Did you know that a baseball batter has just over one-fifth of a second to decide whether, how hard and at what angle to hit the ball, and that getting the timing wrong by 7 milliseconds will make the difference between a home run, a pop fly or a strike? Did you know that an average man can hold his breath for over 20 min, that badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world and that, statistically speaking, Australian cricket player Donald Bradman''s batting average is the single most impressive record in sports? Is it all simply fascinating trivia, or do these facts and figures have any greater significance for the world of sports? Sports are all about motion, power, energy and momentum. The people and objects involved move in lines and curves, their progress determined by geometry. Any definition of sports begins with the term "physical," as in "governed by physics." To regulate and score sports, times are recorded, points counted, scores calculated. Every one of these phenomena, processes and events is governed by numbers, from the energy involved in propelling a ball to the calculation of a coefficie
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction Glossary 1 Power and Motion Bouncing Back to You: Basketball and Conservation of Energy Turn Up the Heat: Baseball and Momentum Relatively Heavy: Baseball and Relativity Throwinng a Curve: Ball Games and the Magnus Effect The Hardest Task in Sports: Timeline of a Baseball Swing Sport by Numbers: Baseball High Impact: Football and Newtonian Physics of Collision The Perfect Pass: Football and Aerodynamics Sport by Numbers: Football Spares and Strikes: Bowling and Algebra Weight Watchers: Tour de France and Human Power Output Cheating: Cycling and Statistics Takedown: Judo and Levers The Harder They Come: Rugby and Levers Sport by Numbers: Rugby Union Spin the Wheel: Cycling and Gyroscopes The Sweet Spot: Tennis, Baseball and Elastic Collisions Club Speed: Golf, Levers and the Coriolis Effect Hit the Ball: Golf and Conservation of Momentum Sport by Numbers: Golf Left, Right, Left: The Power of the Punch Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: Pelota, Badminton and Velocity Gait Theory: Walking and Pendulums Foot Fall: Running and Load Degrees of Freedom: Racket Sports and Biomechanics On Board: Surfing and the Coefficient of Friction Heavy Lifting: Weightlifting and Gravity Fast as Lightning: Sprinting and Stride Rates Jump to It: Pole Vaulting and Conservation of Energy Hot Balls: Squash and Gas Pressure Hop, Step and Spring: Hooke''s Law and the Triple Jump Less is More: Physiology, Biomechanics and Training Two Wheels Good: Cycling and Energy Efficiency
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From the Publisher

A visual reference to the mathematics of sports.

Any definition of sport begins with the term "physical". Motion, power, energy and momentum are the driving forces of physics, and numbers govern all sports. People and objects move in lines and curves, geometry determines progress, times are recorded, points counted, scores calculated. Without understanding numbers, it is impossible to understand sport. Athletes should be interested in the mathematics of sport for the simple reason that it can help them win. For fans, it brings greater enjoyment from their favorite sport.

All the Right Angles is a fun, fascinating and highly visual book that explains the mathematical and scientific principles in sports. With a clear infographics approach, the book never burdens readers with too many numbers and formulas or slows them down with jargon. Instead, dynamic layouts, bold and colorful diagrams and minimal text promote easy comprehension.

There are four parts with self-contained spreads that cover 89 topics in all. They include:

  • Power and Motion: Basketball and Conservation of Energy; Ball Games and the Magnus Effect; Football and Newtonian Physics of Collision; Squash and Gas Pressure; Cycling and Gyroscopes
  • Angles, Trajectories and Geometry: Mathematics of a Golf Shot; Pool and Tangent Lines; Auto Racing and Distance; Baseball and Trajectories; Cycling and Gradients
  • Numbers and Statistics: Statistics in Baseball; Mathematics and Fantasy Football; Game Theory and Fencing; The Statistics of Home Advantage
  • Mathematics, Biology and Environment: Effects of Tennis Court Surfaces; Horsepower; Skydiving and Terminal Velocity; Fencing, Tennis and Reaction Speeds; Hydration and Performance.

    Eight "Sports by Numbers" feature spreads cover baseball, football, rugby, golf, cricket, soccer, tennis and Formula 1. Throughout the book are facts, statistics, trivia and little-known anecdotes that will entertain all sport fans and athletes.

    Sports offer a unique and engaging way into an intimidating topic that many people have written off as "too hard." The games we love have an unrivalled power to turn us on to the beauty of numbers. All the Right Angles is a highly entertaining introduction to that power for the mathematically-minded, the science buff and the curious reader alike.

About the Author

Joel Levy is a writer, journalist and the author of more than a dozen books on science and history, including A Bee in a Cathedral. He has written features and articles for the British press, and appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Joel has a BSc in Biological Sciences and an MA in Psychology and lives in London, England.

Joel Levy

Editorial Reviews

The world of sports provides numerous venues for mathematical and scientific consideration, including the physics of motion and force, the geometry of trajectories, the statistics of upsets and trends, the biology of performance, and the environment of physical limitation. Levy touches on all of these areas, illustrating his points through nearly one hundred diverse settings. Each situation includes a few paragraphs of explanation and at least one page of pictures, numerical highlights, and a scattering of pertinent facts and trivia.... The book is simply an enjoyable romp through a variety of athletic events, sometimes serious and sometimes light, but always grounded in a particular scientific or mathematical setting that the author describes in a straightforward and intriguing manner. Recommended.
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