The Peculiar Physics Of The Wiffle Ball : Short Wave Shall we play a game - of Wiffle ball? Invented in 1953, this lightweight alternative to a baseball is perfectly suited for back yard romping. Today we explain why the design of the Wiffle ball guarantees that you don't need a strong arm to throw a variety of pitches.

More about Jenn Stroud Rossmann's work on Wiffle Balls here:
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/wiffle-ball-physics/539982/

The Peculiar Physics Of The Wiffle Ball

The Peculiar Physics Of The Wiffle Ball

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1089728135/1089818047" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wiffle ball sets are seen during an event to showcase American-made products at the White House July 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Wiffle ball sets are seen during an event to showcase American-made products at the White House July 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Shall we play a game - of Wiffle Ball? Invented in 1953, this lightweight alternative to a baseball is perfectly suited for back yard romping. 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 Emily Kwong and Maddie Sofia about the surprising science behind the Wiffle ball's wicked curve.

You can learn more about Jenn Stroud Rossmann's work on Wiffle balls here.

Toss a pitch our way at shortwave@npr.org.

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