A mix of science and sports history from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For much of the 20th century, controversy reigned over whether baseballs could actually “curve” (or if the perceived motion was just an optical illusion). Enter former NIST director Lyman Briggs, who, with a wind tunnel and the pitching staff of the Washington Senators (“First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League…”) solved the question once and for all.

That said, the origins of the slang term for a curve ball, “Uncle Charlie” (or “Lord Charles” if we’re talking about peak Dwight Gooden’s curve), remains a mystery.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

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