Typically, football players appear on the big screen at MetLife Stadium in highlights of game action. But the experience of Bombers defensive lineman Noah Hill ’19 was something different. He, along with fellow Physics 101 students Anna Rebechi ’22, Hannah Roa ’22 and Leo Alessi ’22, appeared in front of 45,161 fans at the 2019 Cortaca Jug game in a series of 20-second videos that explained the physics behind certain aspects of football, such as the Gyroscopic Effect — the effect that prevents a thrown football from wobbling around its central axis.
One of the videos that he appeared in played while he was on the sidelines, where he took some good-natured ribbing from his teammates for his star turn as a scientist. “I told them it’s good to break down the dumb jock stereotype once in a while,” he said.
The videos were produced as a joint project between IC’s Office of College Communications, which shot them, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Assistant Professors of Physics and Astronomy Colleen and Preston Countryman helped script them and recruited four volunteer students from a Physics 101 class to appear in them. “We aim to make physics relevant, in class and in these videos,” Preston Countryman explained. “The value for the students was that it strengthened their confidence in understanding core physics concepts, and it gives them experience in applying teamwork to problem solving, which is our approach in the class.”