Neil deGrasse Tyson Nerds Out During Super Bowl with Awesome Physics Tweets

Not everyone gets carried away with the thrill of the competition — or the beer and snacks — during America’s big annual blowout, Super Bowl Sunday. Some people aren’t interested at all. But others? They just love the mathematics behind the arc of a well-booted pigskin.

One of those people is Neil deGrasse Tyson, well-known and well-respected astrophysicist.

Tyson live tweeted the big game on Sunday (which I hear the New England team won), but not in the usual way many “celebs” do. Tyson didn’t seem to have a favorite team, didn’t seem to root for one or the other, and didn’t post pictures of overflowing sandwich trays.

Instead, Tyson took to Twitter to comment on the physics of football. In a long stream of educational and interesting asides, Tyson schooled us all, starting us off with a little humorous trove:

“SuperBowl Sunday is a bad day to be a chicken. But so is any day. On average, Americans consume a million chickens per hour.”

“Would be cool if just once, the National Anthem flyover-jets buzzed the stadium with a low-altitude Mach-2 sonic boom.”

Then Tyson waxed poetic on our finest tradition of the big game:

“Momentum & energy transfer. Elastic & Inelastic Collisions. Spin-stabilized projectiles. Nothing like a good game of Football”

“Okay, time for some football astrophysics…”

“As space enthusiasts know, the first word of the first comment uttered by Neil Armstrong from the Moon’s surface is “Houston” “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Commander Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969.

Then Tyson went all “Cosmos,” injecting some perspective into the importance of Super Bowl 51, you know, like in the grand scheme of things.

“The back-aprons of #SB51’s end-zones are nicely decorated with an assortment of stars & constellations. If #SB51’s 100yds were a cosmic calendar, then from Cavemen to now would span a turf-blade’s thickness in the end-zone.”

“In a perfect spiral with high arc, aerodynamics forces a football to angle upward on the way up & downward on the way down.”

“Just an FYI: A 250 lb football player, running 15 mph, has more kinetic energy than a bullet fired from an AK-47 rifle.”

“if a football were the Sun at the 50-yard line, Earth would be at the 15-yard line. Pluto, a quarter-mile away. Get over it.”

“In North-South oriented stadiums, like NRG in Houston, Earth’s rotation deflects a 50-yd field goal to the right by 1/2 inch.”

Tyson received some ribbing during his “lecture,” with some Twitizens responding to his tweets with jokes or exasperated comments telling him to go eat some nachos and chill:

“You gonna do this for World Figure Skating Championships?

“do you do this during sex?”

Er… doesn’t everyone?

Featured image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA (Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Visits NASA Goddard) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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