Bouncing Back and the Kinetic Molecular Theory

⬇️ Read to the end and I will hopefully tie up these two ideas in a nice little package for you. 🎁


I read the following passage last night from the excellent book: What Drives Winning by Brett Ledbetter. Here Ledbetter is describing a women's softball game between #1 ranked UF (go Gators! 🐊) and #2 LSU:


"LSU got off to a good start and scored nine runs that game. Then Florida came back and scored ten runs. After the game, one of the Florida players said, 'We just scored 10 runs on the #2 team in the country. Bouncing back is a mindset."


Bouncing back is. A. Mindset.


Bouncing back is also a well studied scientific model that helps us understand the physical properties of gases at a molecular level.



Allow me to explain.


Gases are all around us doing their thing. We live, breathe, and often harness them for our own needs. They keep us alive and also have to potential to kill us. We can't see them (usually) but we can smell at least 1 trillion different scents that are carried by gases.


Gases by definition consist of large numbers of identical sub-microscopic particles (known as atoms or molecules) that are in constant, rapid, and random motion.


Gases are also bumping into one another and the sides of any container (aerosol can, helium balloon, carbonated beverage) at alarmingly speedy rates (think 100s of miles per hour).


Here's where the cool part comes in: these high speed collisions are completely ELASTIC. That is, when they crash into each other, they then simply ricochet in another direction.


During this process, no energy or momentum is lost. It is all conserved. This is a law, folks (specifically, the First Law of Thermodynamics) and we can't break these laws. (There's no science jail or anything.)


If gases, the stuff we spray to smell pleasant, the stuff we burn to get ourselves around, the stuff that sends astronauts into space, etc. can crash into each other in spectacular fashion and come out no worse for wear and keep going, so can we.


So.


Can.


We.


May all your collisions today be elastic. Be gassy, FitFooters!



Photo above: my friend Catherine and I with Gator Great Coach Becky Burleigh. Coach Becky was generous enough to chat with us about life, coaching, and soccer (Cat is a talented soccer coach. I know what a soccer ball is.) At the end of our chat Coach Becky gave us a copy of What Drives Winning. 🥰


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