The Science of Bowling

November 8th is National STEM/STEAM Day! At Richmond 40 Bowl we’re super excited about this because, without physics, our favorite pastime wouldn’t be possible. A day at the lanes is a great example of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion–or should we say Laws of Bowling?

  1. “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.” Basically, this means that nothing stops, starts, or changes direction on its own. For example, a bowling ball sitting on the ground won’t start rolling spontaneously; it has to be pushed, pulled, or moved somehow.
  2. “The force acting on an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration.” You’ve probably seen the written as F=ma, or “force equals mass times acceleration.” Basically, this describes what happens to a body when it is acted upon by an external force. Think what happens when a bowling ball hits a bowling pin to get a clear idea of what this means.
  3. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you push a shopping cart, the cart pushes back against you. When a bowling ball strikes a pin, the pin pushes back against the ball, so you have to exert the correct amount of force (from the 1st and 3rd Laws!) to make sure that the ball is rolling enough to knock over the pin, rather than vice-versa.

Your kids are probably studying these and other STEM subjects, so reserve some time at Richmond 40 Bowl and bring them down for a combination hands-on lesson and reward!