JF Ptak Science Books Post 2324
[Image source: http://rebelsintradition.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/tpp-13-halsman_Oppenheimer.jpg]
The American Journal of Physics, published for the American Association of Physics Teachers by the American Institute of Physics (how many times did I use the word "physics"?) is a superb periodical, and for most of the time that I have been familiar with the journal it has published a very wide variety of physicsiana, including the history of physics, and (perhaps with the highest walk-by entertainment value) practical/applicable physics. I am working on a considerable stack of them right now, and the first one pulled at random began with an article by Leon Lederman on the history of the neutrino--this is an 8-page I-was-there deep-overview with 103 bibliographic references, and looks very useful. (There's much else of interest: Eastwood "Robert Grosseteste on Refraction Phenomena", Bess' "Supplementary Note on Brownian Motion", and 20 others. Really fantastic. (This would be in volume 38/2, February 1970--but it lives behind a paywall...)
The Lederman of course is serious stuff, but in the very next issue that I held in my hand was one of those in-my-mind-famous entries on applied physics, and serious, and fun: Elmer Offenbacher's Physics and the Vertical Jump" (July 1970). Offenbacher relates a famous photo of Robert Oppenheimer jumping for Philippe Halsman's Jump Book (1952) which was a book by the great photographer of images of people jumping. And jump Oppenheimer did--one of the best jumps in the book, a jump reaching for something with an outstretched finger, coat open and flying, a big effort, jumping for something. (Much different from the stunted and under-control "jump" by Richard Nixon, who tried to deceptive-jump without jumping and failed, unlike Tallulah Bankhead, who "jumped" without jumping and succeeded.) Anyway, the notion of jumping and relating it to physics with a picture of Oppie got students to think about the kinematics and dynamics of one-dimensional motion. Offenbacher also opened the article with a story of the celebration of the New York Mets winning their "impossible" World Series in 1969, referring to the jubilant players leaping into each other's arms. (The author doesn't mention names but he must have been referring to two Jerrys--Jerry Koosman,m the winning pitcher, and Jerry Grote, the catcher, along with Ed Charles who was on the mound but not leaping, yet.)
This approach was perhaps a little more shiney and interesting than Galileo's brass balls--the Oppenheimer pic certainly captured my attention. In any event, this was a brilliant idea, and a wonderful way of approach the mechnaics of different sorts of jumping.