Global Sports Science Experts Come Together at UMass Lowell
LOWELL, Mass. – As the world readies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, sports engineers and equipment makers from around the globe will gather at UMass Lowell to discuss how high-tech fabrics can make swimmers and skiers faster, how baseballs equipped with instrumentation can improve pitchers’ deliveries and how understanding the technical parameters of a golf swing can enhance players’ games.
The International Sports Engineering Conference, set for just before the start of the Summer Games in London, will feature more than 145 presentations on sports including golf, baseball, hockey, football, basketball, soccer, track and field, skiing, tennis, mountain biking, snowboarding, cycling, rugby, field hockey, fencing, cricket, badminton and more. The conference, presented with the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA), will run Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in downtown Lowell. It is only the second time in the conference’s 16-year history the event has been held in the United States.
Headliners will include John Eric Goff, author of “Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports.” Goff, who is also a physics professor, will talk about how science helps athletes prepare for and compete on the world stage, the role physics plays in sports and how an understanding of scientific principles helps fans enjoy sporting events. He will also discuss how sports engineers can inspire young people to become interested in science. He is a recognized expert in applying physics to sports in everything from the trajectory of soccer kicks to the speed and spin of figure-skating jumps.
Goff will be joined at the conference by industry leaders from 20 countries working to enhance athletic performance and safety including:
- John Brenkus, host, co-creator and executive producer of ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning “Sport Science.” The show brings professional athletes together with cutting-edge technology to test the limits of human athletic abilities and explores the science and engineering that fuel outstanding athleticism. A four-time competitor in the Ironman triathlon, Brenkus is the author of New York Times best-seller “The Perfection Point: Sport Science Predicts the Fastest Man, the Highest Jump, and the Limits of Athletic Performance.”
- Bruce Jahnke, director of product testing and validation at K2 Sports, a pioneer in fiberglass ski technology, who will discuss the future of ski design. Jahnke oversees testing of K2 products, including skis, snowboards, boots, bindings, snowshoes, avalanche probes and shovels and in-line skates, and fosters K2 product development. A mechanical engineer, Jahnke has 14 years of experience with the company.
- Wolfram Meyer, manager of the Quality Concepts Program for the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA produces World Cup soccer. Soccer balls tested through the program may earn a “FIFA approved” or “FIFA accepted” endorsement. Meyer will share his thoughts on the program’s future.
“In this Olympic year, engineering and technology will be at center stage this summer, beginning with this conference, where researchers will share the results of their most recent research among their peers,” said ISEA President Kim Blair. “The conference is the world’s largest forum for the sharing of research and insights into the science and engineering in sports.”
UMass Lowell was selected as this year’s host site through a competitive process by the ISEA because of the university’s pioneering work in sports engineering and education, such as the Baseball Research Center. The center researches bat and ball performance and durability for Major League Baseball and many other leagues.
“We are very excited to be hosting this great group of experts and researchers in Lowell,” said Patrick Drane, the conference chairman and assistant director of UMass Lowell’s Baseball Research Center. “Having presented research at the past six sports engineering conferences in places like Sydney, Kyoto and Vienna, it is great to be able to showcase UMass Lowell and count us among the leaders in the global field of sports engineering.”
Conferees will attend sessions on improved equipment performance and durability, regulation, new product innovation, equipment safety and comfort, sports engineering education and issues faced by physically challenged athletes. Work by engineers in the fields of aerodynamics, biomechanics, measurement, injury prevention, motion analysis and more will be represented. The ISEA will publish the conference’s findings at www.sciencedirect.com. For more about the conference, visit www.uml.edu/isea2012.