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UVA Professor Waxes Scientific On Sports

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Lou Bloomfield's science-meets-sports lessons were broadcast on the Verizon Center JumboTron.
Mr. T in D.C.: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/2283147054
Lou Bloomfield's science-meets-sports lessons were broadcast on the Verizon Center JumboTron.

Hockey season is winding to a close, and that’s good news for Professor Lou Bloomfield, who will now have a little extra time. During the season, he produces an Emmy award-winning video shown on cable TV and the Washington Capital’s JumboTron.

Lou Bloomfield has been a professor of physics at the University of Virginia for nearly 30 years. He teaches a course called "How Things Work."

“How does a violin work? How does a microwave oven work? What’s static electricity? Why do magnets stick to your refrigerator?" he says.

He’s done lots of interviews with sports reporters, and one of them was hired to produce a show for the Washington Capitals. He invited Bloomfield to do a regular segment called "Forces of Hockey."

“Hi, I’m Professor Lou. Welcome to my laboratory. Today’s topic — the jersey," he says in a typical segment. "Modern jersey materials carry moisture away from a player’s body by way of a wicking action. The water molecules are chemically attracted to the surface of those fibers.”

He’s looked at why the hockey puck is frozen, why players need especially strong legs, he even explained why the padding they wear stinks. It’s all about bacteria, and Bloomfield is all about helping fans understand the science behind this sport.

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