Let's Get Physical

As part of the ongoing effort to build a lasting peace between the jocks and the nerds, the University of Colorado at Boulder presents the latest in its series of weekend science lessons, this time demonstrating the Physics of Baseball at Mile High. The free lecture, which begins today at 2 p.m. in Duane Physics Lecture Hall G1B30 on the CU campus, has already tackled such weighty subjects as nanotechnology and quantum oscillations. This time around, professor of theoretical and molecular physics John Bohn will explain the difference between the way baseballs travel at altitude versus sea level.

The effect of our mile-high altitude on the outcome of sporting matches has been a subject of popular debate for some time, but baseball in particular has struggled with the very real cost of playing in air that's 20 percent thinner than that at sea level, which was obvious in the 2001 season, when the typical score of a Rockies home game was 87 to 74. To level the playing field, the Rockies began storing their balls in a humidor in 2002, and the average number of runs per game has dropped significantly since.

Professor Bohn has researched the subject extensively, and his findings may surprise those who think the humidor simply adds weight to the ball. With the defending National League Champions' (God, it feels good to write that) home opener just a couple of weeks away, Bohn's lecture will equip Rockies fans with the knowledge necessary to impress both out-of-town relatives and stave off beatdowns by the cruel jocks intent on stealing their milk money. Visit www.colorado.edu/physics or call 303-735-5993.
Sat., March 15, 2 p.m., 2008

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Mark Schiff