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September 25, 2021

Bowling has been reinvented many times over the past seven thousand years but especially in the last 30. This is the fascinating physics of balls, oil, lane and pins. A portion of this video was sponsored by Salesforce. Go to to learn more.

Huge thanks to Steve Kloempken and all of Storm Bowling for letting visit and get a glimpse into the crazy world of bowling.
Huge thanks to legends Chris Barnes and Pete Weber for taking the time to bowl with.
Thanks to Ron Hatfield and James Freeman for their help with research. Check out their great book, Bowling Beyond the Basics:
Thanks to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) for their help with accessing archival data and footage.
Thanks to Bill Guszczo for giving the idea to make this video in the first place.

Freeman, James, and Ron Hatfield. Bowling beyond the Basics: What's Really Happening on the Lanes, and What You Can Do about It. BowlSmart, 2018. -
N. Stremmel, P. Ridenour and S. Sterbenz. β€œIdentifying the Critical Factors That Contribute to Bowling Ball Motion on a Bowling Lane.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. -
USBC Equipment Specifications and Certification Team. β€œBall Motion Study: Phase We and II Final Report.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. -
Brettingen, Patrick, and Nicki Mours. β€œUSBC static weight limits remain relevant.” United States Bowling Congress, 2011. -
Article on lane oil origins -
Luna, Richard. β€œBruce Pluckhahn says there's a little bit of bowling…” United Press International Archives, 1984. -
Johnson, Brody D. β€œThe Physics of Bowling: How good bowlers stay off the straight and narrow.” St. Louis University. -
Talamo, Jim. β€œThe Physics of Bowling Balls.” -
Thompson, Ted. β€œBreakdown and Carrydown - Then and Now.” Kegel. 2012. -
Frohlich, Cliff. β€œWhat Makes Bowling Balls Hook?” American Journal of Physics, vol. 72, no. 9, 2004, pp. 1170–1177., -
Article on bowling’s ranking in participatory sports -
Speranza, Dan, and Dave Nestor. β€œInitial Oil Absorption Results.” United States Bowling Congress, 2016. -
D. Benner, N. Mours, and P. Ridenour. β€œPin Carry Study: Bowl Expo 2009.” United States Bowling Congress, 2009. -
Hopkins, D. C., and J. D. Patterson. β€œBowling Frames: Paths of a Bowling Ball.” American Journal of Physics, vol. 45, no. 3, 1977, pp. 263–266., -
Normani, Franco. β€œThe Physics of Bowling.” Real World Physics Problems. -
Horaczek, Stan. β€œThe insides of pro bowling balls will make your head spin.” Popular Science, 2020. -
House shot oil pattern - Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0.

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Andrew, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Big Badaboom, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller and Emily Zhang
Animations by Mike Radjabov and IvΓ‘n Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller, Trenton Oliver, and Emily Zhang
Edited by Trenton Oliver
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sounds
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang

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