Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

9 09 2011

To Break Wind!

Golf Ball from kainet on flickr

As funny as it seems, golf balls really do have dimples in order to break the wind. How Stuff Works explains the reasoning:

In the early days of golf, smooth-surfaced balls were used until golfers discovered that old, bumpy balls traveled longer distances. The science of aerodynamics helps explain the dimpled phenomenon. The dimples reduce the drag on a golf ball by redirecting more air pressure behind the golf ball rather than in front of it. The higher levels of pressure behind the golf balls force them to go far distances.

The dimples maximize the distance golf balls travel. Dimpled balls travel up to four times farther than smooth-surfaced golf balls!

The dimples change the levels of pressure by bringing the main air stream very close to the surface of the golf ball. The dimples (or “turbulators”) increase the turbulence in the layer of air next to the surface of the ball. This high-speed air stream near the ball increases the amount of pressure behind the ball, forcing the ball to travel farther.

Here at The Austin Children’s Museum we show the aerodynamics of golf balls in our Ready, Set, Roll exhibit. Come check it out before it leaves on September 18th, golf balls have never had so much fun!


The Legend of Amelia Earhart

24 07 2011

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

–Amelia Earhart

May 21, 1932, Amelia steps off her Lockheed 5B Vega in North Ireland

On July 24th we celebrate the historic adventure of a daring soul on Amelia Earhart Day. Amelia had courage and willingness to prove she could do something that no woman had ever attempted before. Throughout her career, Amelia broke several records such as:

  • the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo
  • the only person to fly it twice
  • the longest non-stop distance flown by a woman
  • a record for crossing the Atlantic in the shortest time

All four of these records were broken in one flight! This woman was fearless. Her life of breaking records and flying around the world was not always the plan. Born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 to Edwin and Amy Earhart, Amelia (Millie) soon became an older sister to Muriel. After schooling, Amelia began working as a nurse’s aide during World War I at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

After moving to California to be with her parents, Amelia picked up flying as a hobby. In 1922, after receiving help from her mother and sister, and working a few odd jobs, Amelia was able to afford her very own airplane.

Amelia Earhart's first plane

To read Amelia’s full biography check out Pitara’s Magazine for Kids.

Amelia Earhart is a role model to women because she had a goal she felt destined to achieve and made every effort to do so. She is a historic legend because on July 2, 1937 Amelia completed nearly two-thirds of a flight that was meant to go around the world with her navigator Frederick Noonan but then went missing. TheĀ  result of their final flight is still a mystery to the world. There are several beliefs about what could have happened to Amelia Earhart, but this may be one mystery that never gets solved.

Play and learn about Amelia with this trivia game!

ACM believes Amelia Earhart is a powerful heroine that we can all look to as a guide for perseverance and determination, no matter if you’re a boy or a girl. She paved a path for bravery and dedication that anyone can follow. ACM also celebrates a girl’s interest in science and making history. August 15-19 we are holding the Girls Explore Science camp here at the Museum and there are several spots open. This camp gives girls a chance to experiment and learn about science in a hands-on way. If you’re interested in registering, contact the Museum at 512-472-2499 x201 or sign up here!

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”–Amelia Earhart