Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No "Wiggle" in Rowing!

I recently read this interesting article of how math was used to solve an issue that rowing athletes often need to overcome during races: "the wiggling boat." Once again, Math is in places that you least expect! Read this interesting article from "Technology Review" by clicking the link below. Enjoy!
Mathematician Solves Rowing Boat "Wiggle" Problem
A mathematician has discovered two entirely new arrangements of rowers in a racing eight in which the rowing forces cancel to make the boat wiggle-free.

The placement of the rowers, the "rig" of the boat, obviously has consequences for the motion of the boat. The question is how best to arrange an even number of crew members in a coxless racing boat in a way that minimizes or eliminates wiggle.

The traditional way of rigging a boat places rowers alternately pulling oars on each side of the boat. "The traditional rig appears symmetrical and simple in ways that might tempt you into thinking it is in every sense optimal. However, this is not the case," says Barrow who goes on to show that the balance of forces in this rig as the oars are pulled through the water always produces a wiggle.

What's the betting that that we'll see at least one of the new rigs at the 2012 Olympics in London?

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