By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you think the only math you need to know for sports is the score and the spread, think again.
Physics professor Aaron Santos calls it Ballparking, the title of his second book of applying math to some unusual pursuits.
“When I started playing hockey, I was always wondering, ‘Why doesn’t a team just take some really really fat guy and shove him in a goal, and just make sure nobody can get any pucks in because it’s just completely blocked?’”
The reason—and Santos shows you the equations—is that this goalie would weigh about five tons. And if you want to pole vault over the St. Louis Arch? You’d have to run 140 mph while carrying a pole that weighs more than 400 pounds.
Santos wants his readers to think of math as a problem-solving tool, even if the problem is off-the-wall. Santos has plans for a third book, on science fiction calculations, called The Math of Khan.