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Engineering: Using Newton's Laws of Motion

Author(s): Gregory L. Vogt, EdD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, Michael T. Vu, MS, and Nancy P. Moreno, PhD.

Launch Angle and Target Distance

Many sports involve throwing or hitting balls or other implements as far and accurately as possible. In baseball, a center fielder has to pick up a ground ball and throw it at the right angle and speed to the catcher waiting at home plate. A quarterback must be able to pass the football to a receiver running full speed toward the end zone. A golfer selects a driver with the right angle on the club face to launch a golf ball toward the hole. Athletes who throw javelins try to throw a javelin farther than their competitors. Through experience, we learn to throw or hit a ball at the correct angle and speed to reach our target.

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Funded by the following grant(s)

National Science Foundation

Grant Number: DRL-1028771