Thursday, January 3, 2008

On Billiards and Physics

What sets apart a natural born pool player from the average one? On top of the obvious gifts (focused eye, steady hand and good correlation between them), a pool player usually has an intuitive understanding of physics.

In an interview to Frontline – India's National Magazine, Sheldon Lee Glashow, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and the proud owner of a home antique billiards table, talks about his upcoming book on the relations between billiards and physics. Prof. Glashow bases the billiards part of the book on his past experience as a student who has been spending long hours at the university pool room studying the movements of billiards balls.

"Physics and the Game of Billiards" will discuss "variety of mathematical methods and applies them to the motions and impacts of hypothetical spherical bodies" such as the interactions between billiards balls, cue tips, billiards table rails during a pool game. The book intends to be approachable to every pool fan, including those who've majored in arts, but its main objective is to introduce mathematical physics theories to students in a very vivid way.

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