The Tao of Sports


INSTRUCTOR: Joseph Lichter


SCHEDULE: Monday, Wednesday 12:30PM – 1:45PM

Course Description

In the “The Tao of Sports”, we investigate why sports are such a unique and popular human experience. We study the underlying physical sciences that govern the games we know and love and balance that with the social component and often religious experiences felt by athletes/fans. In terms of physical sciences, we will spend some time looking at the physics of sports (estimating the position, speeds, acceleration, forces, energy and other quantifiable measurements of players/objects associated with soccer, basketball, football, baseball, as well as some of the less popular sports). One of the objectives for this component of the course is an ability to predict (with best possible certainty) outcomes of plays as a result of variables we can measure/observe. We will also look at the biological sciences with respect to exercise physiology, exercise metabolism, energy sources from nutrition, injuries, performance enhancing drugs, and more. In the social sciences component of this course, we cover everything from gender, age, race, finances, deviance and violence in sports with an especially find examination of the most recent events and how they fit into our current zeitgeist. Objectives in the social sciences component include an understanding for how sports impacts societies. In terms of how this class can be applied to future careers, students interested in the sports industry might find avenues they would like to consider especially after class discussions and assignments.

Students will learn to:

  • Explain the physical phenomena behind their most favorite sports, using equations, diagrams, and scientific principles
  • Evaluate the social phenomena seen in sports including political influence, communal gatherings, and the culture surrounding it
  • Think about data that is important to sports and athletes, with a potential to anticipate and/or develop applications for athletes providing such information.
  • See the parallels between sports and religion
  • Look at their own athleticism/sports interest with new perspective