EVERY SPORT IS A GAME OF INCHES. SCIENCE HELPS YOU GO THE EXTRA MILE.
SportsZone is a new permanent exhibition that explores how sport connects the science of the human body, laws of motion, and technical innovation. Explore physical fitness, nutrition, equipment, and safety as you prepare to play. Then, hit the turf and go for it! Test your skills at pitching, jumping, surfing, and running all while investigating the fundamental concepts of health, materials science, mechanics, and motion.
Is your body ready to go? Athletic abilities vary from person to person, but so do sports. There’s a sport for everyone, no matter your size or shape. Explore the steps needed to stay in your personal ready zone where your energy and needs are in balance.
- Energy Goal: Calculate how much energy you need based on your activity level and your basic physiological needs.
- Body in Motion: Explore the biomechanics of bones and ligaments.
- Drink Analysis: Investigate the best fluids to drink before, during, and after exercise.
- Warm ups: Get your mind and body ready to run with some active stretching.
You’re ready to play. But are you set? Do you have the right stuff? Sports equipment can sometimes make the difference in your performance. Get set by learning about the newest developments in equipment materials and design. New discoveries in the structure and properties of materials, combined with specialized designs, can make hockey sticks lighter, bikes more efficient, and even make balls bounce differently. Innovations in equipment design also help to protect us—but do they push us beyond our limits?
- Bike Efficiency: Gear up for a bike race! Find a friend and start cranking your bikes as you race a virtual course over uphill and downhill terrain.
- Helmet Test: How much protection does a football helmet actually provide? Test the force of a direct impact on side-by-side model heads—one wearing a helmet, one without.
- Bike Gears: Observe mechanical advantage at work in bicycle design.
- Ski Shape: Test how shaped skis provide greater control on a curved slope.
You’re ready. You’re set. Now, go! It’s time to discover that it’s not just how hard you play, it’s how well you play. Perfecting the skills and movements of any sport maximizes success and prevents injury. Understanding the physical forces that drive those movements gives you a clear advantage. When you’re perfecting your pitch or finding your best surfing stance, your knowledge of fluid dynamics and center of mass helps you make the right adjustments. Then take a second look with motion-tracking technology or slow-motion video to analyze your technique. See if you can use science to improve your performance!
- Race Against Professional Athletes: A 40-foot long race challenge pairs you against your choice of virtual competitors, including Inline Speed Skater Brian Talley, Paralympic Medalists Tatyana McFadden and Richard Browne, Marathon Runner Dawn Grunnagle, and even fan favorite Phillie Phanatic. High-speed cameras track and analyze your run!
- Test Your Jump: Test your jump momentum by recording your maximum height in a standing jump as you hit a column of buttons. Then, take a running start towards an array of basketballs (ranging in height from 5’ to 11’) and try to reach a higher height.
- Form a Pitch: Analyze and improve your pitching technique and learn about body mechanics with high-speed camera analysis of your pitch compared to an expert’s motions.
- Surfboard Balance: Catch a wave, and experiment with positioning your center of mass to improve your balance.
- Splash Dynamics Demo: Drop different objects into a tank and analyze the splash to see how shape affects their entry.
SportsZone is made possible by:
James J. Maguire, Jr., the Maguire Foundation, and Philadelphia Insurance Companies
William and Laura Buck
Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Scheller, Jr.
The Dow Chemical Company
Things to Do and See in SportsZone
Race Against Pro Athletes
Grab a friend, choose a lane, and select your competition—a speed skater? A marathon runner? An Eagles running back? Once the race is on, your virtual competitor will run or skate alongside you, on a projection surface the length of the run.
Perfect Your Pitch
Do you have the strike of a professional? Throw out a pitch and have your body mechanics analyzed by high speed imagery.
Catch a Wave
Surf's up! Ride the surfboard simulator and learn how to adjust your body to improve your balance.
How do momentum and timing affect the height of your vertical jump? Test your standing jump, then take a running leap at an array of hanging basketballs and try to reach a higher height.
Gear up for a bike race! Find a friend and start cranking your bikes as you race a virtual course over uphill and downhill terrain.
Test Helmet Strength
How much protection does a football helmet actually provide? Test the force of a direct impact on side-by-side model heads—one wearing a helmet, one without.
Images and Video