The Wiffle Ball Pitch Curve, Explained Through Physics : Short Wave Wiffle Balls are a lightweight alternative to baseballs, better suited for backyards then sports stadiums. The design of the Wiffle Ball guarantees you don't need a strong arm to throw a curve ball. But how does that happen? Engineering professor Jenn Stroud Rossman explains.

The Peculiar Physics Of Wiffle Balls

The Peculiar Physics Of Wiffle Balls

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The aerodynamics forces on a Wiffle Ball in a wind tunnel, using fog visualization. Jenn Stroud Rossman hide caption

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Jenn Stroud Rossman

If you're social distancing like we are, playing a game of catch with your household is a fun way to get fresh air. May we suggest the Wiffle Ball? Invented in 1953, this lightweight alternative to a baseball is better suited for backyards then sports stadiums. And the design of the Wiffle Ball guarantees that you don't need a strong arm to throw a variety of pitches.

But how does that happen? Jenn Stroud Rossman, mechanical engineering professor at Lafayette College, tells Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong and host Maddie Sofia about the surprising science behind the Wiffle Ball's wicked curve.

You can learn more about Jenn Stroud Rossman's work on Wiffle Balls here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Rebecca Ramirez, edited by Viet Le and fact-checked by Emily Vaughn.