Bowling pins being hit by a bowling ball.
Bowling pins being hit by a bowling ball.

Equations in Motion – Bowling with Dave Alciatore

Nan Palmero from San Antonio, TX, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

How do you bowl a perfect 300? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly discover Euler’s Equations of Motion and the cheat codes to bowling with physicist Dr. Dave Alciatore. 

Has this ever happened to you: You’re bowling and throw a ball perfectly straight down the lane, it looks like it’s going to be a strike when all of a sudden it starts to curve? We break down the forces acting on the bowling ball and the gyroscopic effects that make the ball spin. How do you get a strike? What is the optimal angle to get one? 

How do you bowl a perfect 300? Did mathematician Leonhard Euler bowl? Discover the effects of the oil patterns on the lane and how it affects the ball’s friction over the course of a game. What would happen if you didn’t oil the lane? We talk about how players utilize the oil patterns to their advantage. 

Learn about the gyroscopic effects on the bowling ball as it heads down the lane. What is a bowling ball made of? Find out how the materials impact the ball’s movement and give bowling some really unique physics. We discuss different bowling styles and which ones seem to work best. How rare is scoring a 300? Has Dr. Dave ever bowled a perfect game? All that, plus, Chuck invents his own new type of bowling.  

Thanks to our Patrons Shivam Gagad, Arnav, Madalina, Amy A., Ryan Fawley, Ashley Grace, Junior Verhelst, Dominique Monroe, Mai, and Kay Trajkovski for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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