row2k Features
Physics For Coxswains And Rowers
November 7, 2000
Rob Colburn

Rowers don't need any Theory of Special Relativity to tell us that neither Space and Time are fixed quantities. Observe how a line of supposedly straight buoys oscillates closer and farther from the ends of your oars no matter how straight a course you steer. We all know that Regatta Time is its own variable. So, if you're having one of those practices when the oar seems to bounce off the water, or the shell moves to its own random physical forces, then perhaps these non-Newtonian physical principles will help you get through the day:

Wave Convergence -- A principle which dictates that all the wakes, waves, and whitecaps on your particular body of water will head inexorably toward the gunwales of whatever shell you happen to be in, and keep pace with you throughout the entire practice or race.

Quantum Gaussian Waves -- those particularly cold waves which splash over your rigger forestay and hit you right in the middle of your back.

Greg's Equation -- Predicts how many more shells will arrive simultaneously at a given bridge arch than can possibly fit through it. Thus: T = sineW + tan(B+2) where T is equal to the number of transiting shells; W is the width of the bridge arch in meters, and B is the number of boats which ordinarily can fit safely through the arch. When this equation is applied to the Charles River, the term (B+2) should be raised by an exponent C (where C is any integer between 35 and 52).

Circular Polarized Proton -- your feather hand after a cold early-morning practice.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle -- "Are we pausing hands-away or bodies over?"

Schrodinger's Paradox -- explains why the set of your boat is down both to port and starboard at the same time

Ranstrom -- the amount of force required to tear one rigger off of one shell at standard temperature and pressure

Grunow's Law of Mass Displacement (Binge Postulate) -- "A body of matter which weighs 172 lb. today, and which must weigh 160 lb. (or less) tomorrow, will thus weigh 182 lb. the day after tomorrow." This is the law which makes lightweight racing possible, and allows Lites quantumly to displace their weight over time, thus to be at their minimum at the moment of weigh-in.

Chaos Theory -- It's more than a theory.

Theory of Angular Momentum -- Defines why certain shells won't steer straight (ask your coxswain to explain the math to you) Missing Matter -- amount of mass calculated to be "missing" in the Universe. To whit: all of the scrub brushes we bought at the beginning of this season, three clams, six of the small bungie cords, a trailer strap, both pairs of slings, four rolls of duct tape, Kathleen's sunglasses, and the charger extensions off of two of our CoxBoxes.

Solid-State -- somewhere between 110% and 120% pressure

Inverse Square Law -- the likelihood of your bow four squaring their blades in sync with the rest of the boat is inversely proportional to the amount of time you have spent on the drill this season.

Endothermic Reaction -- the process which causes every waterlogged tree limb and branch to rise from the bottom of the river or pond and lurk exactly 3.5 cm below the surface one hour prior to practice, waiting to bite your skeg off.

Energy-Matter Conversion -- a process of quantum physics wherein large inflatable orange buoys will suddenly spring into existence on the physical plane about six meters in front of your bow rigger where there was absolutely nothing there when the coxswain glanced in that direction a moment ago.

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