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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Physics of Usain Bolt
25 July 2013 7:15 pm
In the summer of 2009, during the World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set a world record time of 9.58 seconds for the 100-meter dash—but he did so with a slight wind at his back. Now, a new analysis suggests that Bolt’s time without the tailwind would still have been a record-setter. Researchers used weather conditions during the race to estimate Bolt’s coefficient of drag, which is related to his body’s wind resistance. That parameter, along with data about the sprinter’s position (collected by lasers every 0.1 second during the race), suggests that Bolt’s time sans wind assistance would have been 9.68 seconds, the researchers report today in the European Journal of Physics. That’s 0.1 seconds slower than the official result but still good enough to squeak past Bolt’s previous world record time of 9.69 seconds, which he had set at the Beijing Olympics the year before. Race data also show that Bolt sprang from the starting blocks with an acceleration of 9.5 meters per second squared—that’s almost 0.97 g, the acceleration due to Earth’s gravity—and was churning out a whopping 2.6 kilowatts of power (3.5 horsepower) less than 1 second later.