Gridiron physics: Scalars and vectors – Michelle Buchanan



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An unbelievable play on an American Football field is the perfect backdrop for understanding crucial physics concepts. Michelle Buchanan goes play-by-play on the vectors, the scalars, and the glory of a downright scientific touchdown.

Lesson by Michelle Buchanan, animation by TED-Ed.

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48 thoughts on “Gridiron physics: Scalars and vectors – Michelle Buchanan

  1. I don't like football. Why does the vectors video have to be about something that is perceived as decidedly male? Please redo with a topic that is more universal and less detested. Football is one of the few sports they IQ test you before you start playing so colleges can track if you lose IQ points due to head injuries. Is TED promoting head injuries and brutality?

  2. This does not incorporate the psychological, or physical part of the game making this play nether believable or unbelievable. It is nothing more than a mathematical prediction on how a play should go, and that is what a coach is for. Except they would have most likely incorporated those two things into the play.

  3. My question…Is there a science that explains why the defense would line up a linebacker against the "best receiver"? Was the defensive coordinator drunk or maybe just went for a hotdog? 😀

  4. No, you're welcome to bitch about fries. Because they originated in Belgium where they were called 'frieten' and later in France 'pommes frites'. Both terms of course referring to the act of frying, so 'fries' makes sense.

    In regards to Football, that's the worst possible choice, since it is obviously more based on rugby than on 'soccer'. How about 'scrimball' or 'scrimmage' which is something unique (as far as I know) to North American football. Or handegg, which is fine by me too… 😉

  5. The main reason most Americans find that type of complaint to be ridiculously pedantic is because it's nothing more than a dialectical difference. It would be the same as us getting mad at Europeans for referring to french fries as "chips".

  6. The youtube part of ted has always had a basics kind of feel to it. Apart from maybe s couple of history ones. So i don't expect the same as ted talks. But these vids always have great analogies and graphics.

  7. The world is full of idiots. There is no such thing as an "Expert on everything". So, if you're watching a video about basic maths, leave the scoffing out of it please.

  8. I'm sorry but this basically tells you nothing but hey America is full of idiots. It's better to tell them some basic calculus/physics than nothing so good job. But ted's audience I think has this general understanding. Well at least it'snot harlem shake.

  9. I recommend Khan Academy for the first year of Physics and first two years of Maths. In particular sections on calculus, differential equations, linear algebra and the entire section on Physics. As long as you know that, you'll have a comfortable time concentrating on really learning instead of merely keeping up.

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