Dr. Dave Schools Neil deGrasse Tyson in Pool

Colorado State University (CSU) mechanical engineering Emeritus Professor David G. Alciatore, PhD (known to his students as “Dr. Dave”) recently appeared on a podcast with the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Neil’s podcast series, called StarTalk Sports Edition, deals with the science of sports, and the topic of the episode with Dr. Dave is billiards physics.  The podcast was co-hosted by Tyson, comedian Chuck Nice, and past pro soccer player Gary O’Reilly, with Dr. Dave being the featured guest.

Dr. Dave wrote “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards,” a book dealing with the physics of pool and how to play the game.  He also has a website at CSU (billiards.colostate.edu) offering instructional videos, articles, teaching and learning resources, and math and physics analyses dealing with every physical aspect of the game.

Dr. Dave taught and did research in mechanical engineering for 30 years before retiring to Emeritus status in 2000.  He was an award-winning teacher and textbook author known for sometimes using pool examples in his engineering classrooms.  He would also have occasional “seminars” for his students, where they could challenge him to games in a dorm pool room.

Things discussed during the podcast, with frequent amusing commentary by the hosts, include the history of pocket billiards, the origination of the terms “pool” and “english,” the Coriolis Effect, the evolution of pool equipment, trick shots, sidespin physics, and pool strategy.

If you want to listen to the podcast, it can be found at:  https://youtu.be/ZfxtXmnheDg  (full version), https://www.startalkradio.net/show/pool-table-physics-with-dr-dave-alciatore  (audio-only version), and https://youtu.be/N1SmW7-mdws  (shortened/illustrated video version).