NASCAR physics

At Cocktail Party Physics, science writer Jennifer Ouellette has posted a two-part interview with Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, physics professor and author of "The Physics of NASCAR." Joking that if the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health had funded more of her research proposals, "she wouldn't have had time to write about NASCAR," Leslie-Pelecky also shares a serious side in the interview.

My book is meant for the NASCAR fan who doesn't know a lot of science, or the science fan who doesn't know a lot about NASCAR. The writer Margaret Wertheim pointed out that people who are already interested in science are very well served. It's the people who don't know that they're interested in science that we fail. NASCAR has 75 million fans. If this book gets even a very small percentage of them to think about taking a science course, or ask their teacher about springs, I will be thrilled. My goal is to stimulate people's interest. They'll learn some science from reading the book, but I hope the book will inspire them to look further and ask their own questions.

From how she got interested in NASCAR, to a discussion of the science behind to the sport, to gender dynamics, to the state of science education in the United States - Leslie-Pelecky covers quite a bit of territory in the interview. Check it out.