Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rugby Science

You may have noticed that World Cup Rugby fever is EVERYWHERE!  But where is the science? Everywhere too!

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to post a few experiments highlighting the scientific principles behind rugby.

Today we are going to look at the first law of Newton’s three laws of motion.  In everyday language the first law says something a little bit like this … something will not start moving until a force makes it.  This is obvious on the rugby field.  The ball stays still until someone grabs, kicks or passes it. 

This law also explains that something will keep moving until an equal or greater force makes it change.  So, when the ball is kicked - that force makes it go up.  However, it then changes direction as gravity becomes the greater force and pulls it down to the ground.  Also the wind creates a force which can be a factor too (maybe not in the flash new stadium in Dunedin!) 

You can take your rugby ball outside and try out Newton’s first law of motion.  Or you can sit back and experiment with this little trick during half time from the couch.

You will need:
  • An empty glass
  • Drink coaster or playing card
  • Dollar coin

  1. Place the card over the glass. 
  2. Put the coin on top of the playing card.
  3. Give the card a quick flick (see video) – remember – Newton said something won’t start moving until a force makes it.
  4. This force (hopefully) wont transfer to the coin and the coin will then get pulled into the glass due to the force created by gravity.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and have fun watching the rugby.