I’ve never been much of a basketball fan. When I was in college I got behind my team (the Blue Hens) for two of their best seasons on record (1992 and 1993). It was easy to be a fan because I was going to UD at the time, which meant that we got free (?) or at least heavily discounted tickets – and all my friends were doing it, so …
However, youtube has actually turned me on to a couple brilliant uses for the sport. First, the simple one: Who doesn’t like watching what happens when you drop something mundane from a very high place?
I don’t actually know if this shot really merited a world record – although, really, how could it not? But it’s certainly fun to watch:
However, here’s where things get interesting. You’re all set to make the shot (drop, whatever) and you put a little spin on it. Natural enough. Enter the Magnus Effect:
Applying the Magnus effect to baseball demonstrates how the spin of a fastball affects its trajectory:
From Michael Richmond of RIT.edu, the horizontal flight path of a baseball with or without spin (in this case a 2200 RPM backspin)
Turning up the backspin to 3500RPM, the ball assumes a flat path ( actually rising in height as it approaches the plate.)