Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Book Arrives


Fight Like a Physicist is finally here! It's been a very long road to get to this point, and it's amazing to have a tangible representation of that work in my hands.

This first copy belongs to Jen Hahn for supporting my work and tolerating my long hours, so I'll have to borrow hers until I get one of my own in the mail.

Looking at the book again with fresh eyes, I can imagine it's going to piss a lot of people off, and that's fine. You can't advance human knowledge without annoying the people who were happy with the the state of the world before you came along. All I can really hope for is that for every person who gets pissed off as a result of this book, two people start to ask tough questions about how they train or what it really means to be safe. If enough of us start asking tough questions, maybe one day, when someone asks a simple question, such as "Why do boxers wear gloves?" or "Why do football players wear helmets?" the answer will be a resounding "I don't know. It's pretty dumb, huh?"

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Dichotomy of Human Punches

The science for this one is not too tough, but it does seem to catch a lot of people off guard, so I figured I would turn it into a short video:


It turns out that punches are not like projectiles. Your muscles make a trade-off between adding to the velocity of a strike or adding to the effective mass, and this trade-off gives us a dichotomy based on quantities that we usually think of as changing together in simple classical mechanics scenarios.

If you want to get into the details, it is an incredibly interesting and rich topic with a lot of unanswered questions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is pi really universal?

Full disclosure: I have the first 51 digits of pi tattooed on my left calf and foot, so I am personally and permanently attached to the traditional definition of pi.
My left leg
Pi is a fundamental constant of the universe, and it is defined to be a circle's circumference divided by its diameter, or the distance around a circle divided by the distance across it. The number pi shows up in math and physics on a regular basis, even when we are not talking about circles, and it is safe to say that without an understanding of pi, we would not be as technically advanced as we are as a species today.

But if NASA is right, we will discover alien life in the next 20 years, and while that life will probably just be microbial, as a species, we should start thinking about how we would communicate with intelligent life, should we ever find it. Math is a universal language, so it is only a matter of time before humans try to show off our intelligence by demonstrating our knowledge of pi, but... what if we are wrong?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Science Study Break: Physics of Martial arts in the Movies

Here is a fun article covering a talk I gave yesterday at the University of Texas as a part of their Science Study Break program:

UT graduate discusses between physics and martial arts - The Daily Texan

The format of the program is pretty simple; they show a bunch of movie clips, and then discuss them with the audience, with a science-y twist of course.  The whole science study break series is pretty fun, and I highly recommend attending an event for anyone in the Austin area.

This was my first event promoting Fight Like a Physicist, and I still have a long way to go before it comes out this September.  Admittedly, some of the material is not easy to boil down to 30 second explanations without much context, so I should start figuring out which questions I can tackle easily in talks/interviews, and which ones I should just answer with "read the book!"

There was at least one special guest in attendance, too.  A former professor of mine back when I was an undergrad at UT showed up, and he was a member of the UT Judo team with me as well (1998 Texas State champs!).  He was the guy who first taught me a rear naked choke, so it was nice to see him there.