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Newton's Football: The Science Behind America's Game Hardcover – November 19, 2013
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What prepared Vince Lombardi for phenomenal success in professional football? St. John and Ramirez believe it was the eight years Lombardi spent teaching high-school math and physics. For behind Lombardi’s six NFL titles in the 1960s, the authors discern a brilliant application of Newtonian physics in the Green Bay Packers’ famous power sweep and of probability theory in the Packers’ run-oriented game plans. But Lombardi’s storied career is but one gridiron setting in which readers discover hidden scientific and mathematical concepts. Readers will marvel, for instance, at how chaos theory connects an injury to a key player with the beginning of the West Coast offense. Just as amazing is the Boolean logic governing quarterback reads. Other analyses deploy the science of dynamic feedback to explain how adding a face mask to the helmet put players at greater risk of concussions, and combine the physics of pass-blocking with the thermodynamics of nutrition (and steroids?) to account for behemoth linemen. A delightfully improbable book putting science nerds and sports fans on the same page. --Bryce Christensen
“It was with great interest that I read Newton’s Football. I’m a fan of applying of science to sport and Newton’s Football truly delivers. The stories are as engaging as they are informative. This is a great read for all football fans.”—Mark Cuban
“A delightfully improbable book putting science nerds and sports fans on the same page.”—Booklist
“This breezily-written but informative book should pique the interest of any serious football fan in the twenty-first century.”—The American Spectator
“The authors have done a worthy job of combining popular science and sports into a work that features enough expertise on each topic to satisfy nerds and jocks alike. . . . The writers succeed in their task thanks to in-depth scientific knowledge, a wonderful grasp of football’s past and present, interviews with a wide array of experts, and witty prose. . . . [Newton’s Football is] fun and thought-provoking, proving that football is a mind game as much as it is a ball game.”—Publishers Weekly
“Journalist St. John and former Yale engineering professor Ramirez use scientific principles to give a greater understanding of the spectacle of competitive violence that is American professional football. . . . What makes this book so enjoyable is the authors’ revealing of how academic disciplines such as Boolean algebra and paleontology are present in such a brutish sport.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Equal parts Isaac Newton and Cam Newton, this book is as thoroughly entertaining and engrossing as a fall Sunday afternoon on the couch.”—L. Jon Wertheim, executive editor of Sports Illustrated and bestselling co-author of Scorecasting
“Nothing is more bipartisan than America’s love for football. And Newton’s Football will unite readers of all stripes by merging science and sports in a fresh and fascinating fashion. Read this book and you’ll never again watch a game the same way.”—Chris Mooney, New York Times bestselling author of The Republican War on Science
“What do you get when you pair a journalist and bestselling author with a materials scientist turned science ‘evangelist,’ and have them collaborate on a book about football? With any luck, you get Newton’s Football, a breezily informative and fun exploration of the science behind this popular pastime, from Vince Lombardi’s use of game theory to helmet design and why woodpeckers don’t get concussions.”—Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Calculus Diaries
“Football is a great game to watch, but Allen St. John and Ainissa Ramirez make it a great game to think about as well. Where else are you going to find a discussion of Heisenberg’s influence on the NFL or a serious comparison of Isaac Newton and Vince Lombardi? This book is a terrific read.”—James Trefil, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University and co-author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
“A fascinating melding of science and sport, at once lively and illuminating, rich with knowledge of the game and arresting explanations of its winning strategies.”—Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University
Top customer reviews
Dr. Ramirez has the gift of being able to explain complex science and mathematics in a way that is easy for anyone to understand and is fun to read! I can't wait to see what topic she decides to "tackle" next!