Mark Denny

I'm a science writer, and my books explain how things work.

. (8) Gliding for Gold: The physics of winter sports

Mostly about Winter Olympics sports, I was researching and writing this book at the time of the Vancouver Olympics. 

Reviews: 

"If the current burst of media attention on summertime sport leaves you, well, cold, then Gliding for Gold: the Physics of Winter Sports may be the perfect antidote." Physics World

"One of the best [books on snow sports] I've ever read." Eric H. Book Bargains and Previews 2011-01-00

"Denny, a theoretical physicist and popular science writer provides an enthusiastic, almost breezy tour of the rules, art, and science of skating, hockey, curling, skiing, and snowboarding... For the scientifically inclined reader it provides an interesting window on the science of winter sports." Choice 2012-01-00

 

 

In the book I analyze a wide variety of winter sports: those played on ice and those played on snow. Bobsledding is relatively easy to analyze, because the forces that act upon the sled are well understood. One of the features of bobsledding that I maybe should have mentioned in the book--one that strikes first-timers in particular--is the wall of noise that sledders hear as they rattle down the track.

Downhill skiing events are harder to analyze, because snow is a more variable surface than ice, and skiers have more freedom of movement than sledders. Nevertheless, physics provides quite an insight into the sport. Both aerodynamic drag and surface friction sap speed from the downhill skier and so (s)he likes to crouch and to get airborne. Those carve turns are quite different from the old parallel turns--they arose because of new ski technology.