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Learn the physics behind a baseball pitcher's fastball and curve ball, the geometry that hockey players use when playing the game, and the reason a quarterback spirals the football when he throws it.
The answers can be found in a new exhibit, the Science of Sports, which explores and investigates the science behind Buffalo's favorite sports.
The exhibit opens today at the Buffalo Museum of Science and will run through Jan. 6.
The Humboldt Parkway museum Friday announced the interactive exhibit, which shows that, aside from being competitive, sports involve a complex equation of physics, math and biology.
"Kids who think they don't like science will come here and see the exhibit. This will bring them in and encourage them to check out all these other things the museum has to offer," said museum member Carreen Schroeder, a Youngstown French teacher, who brought along her husband, Matthew, and their 8-year-old daughter, Niamh (pronounced neve).
"Anything science, this one eats it up," Mrs. Schroeder said of her daughter.
The family-friendly exhibit focuses on a number of sports, including football, hockey, baseball, basketball and golf.
"Football: The Exhibit," addresses different aspects of the game - from the physics of tackling to the balance needed for cheerleading. Kids can learn the scientific secrets to throwing the perfect pass and measure their speed against professional running backs.
Hockey fans can learn why geometry plays a major role in the game. And, courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres, visitors can measure their shooting accuracy, speed and strength in the RapidShot and RapidHands Hockey Simulation Training Systems. They're the same systems used by professional hockey players.
Niamh tried out the simulation booth and found it challenging to stop and shoot the pucks. "It was really, really hard," she said.
Also featured is a display that examines the physics and techniques of throwing a curveball and other trick pitches that can take years of practice to master.
A Buffalo sports memorabilia display features items from the Bills; the Sabres; the Bandits; the Bisons; the WNY Flash, the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer champions; and the Stallions soccer team, which played in the Major Indoor Soccer League from 1979 to 1984.
Visitors also can learn about sports injuries and the evolution of equipment technology. UB Orthopedics and Sports Medicine of Orchard Park will provide information on heart trauma and the prevention and effects of concussions.
The exhibit is free for science museum members and is included with general admission: $9 for adults; $8 for seniors citizens 62 years old and above; $7 for children 2 to 17, students and members of the military, with identification.
Museum and exhibit hours are Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. Oct. 26, Nov. 30 and Dec. 28.
For more information, go to www.sciencebuff.org.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com