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Law of Conservation of Momentum

When an action and reaction occur, momentum is transferred, and total momentum is conserved.

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Two-Handed Bowling

Two-Handed Bowling

Credit: Scl chua
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bowlingball.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

These bowling balls have holes for the bowler’s fingers. The finger holes help the bowler grip the heavy ball with one hand.

News You Can Use

  • Bowling balls are designed to be held in one hand. However, some bowlers are adopting a two-handed technique. It helps them roll hook balls. A ball that hooks is more likely to knock down all the pins.
  • Credit: Battle Creek CVB
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/battlecreekcvb/4101070640/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The bowling pins are arranged so that a hooking ball has the best shot to knock them all down [Figure2]


  • In the video below, watch a pro bowler demonstrate his two-handed technique. Notice how much the ball hooks as it gets close to the pins. Why do you think the hook ball almost always gets a strike?


Can You Apply It?

At the link below, learn about the physics of bowling. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. In order to knock down all the pins in bowling, the ball needs to strike the pins in the pocket halfway between the head pin and the pin to the right or left of the head pin. If you throw the ball straight down the alley and directly into the right pocket, what happens?
  2. If the bowling ball hooks into the pocket at an angle, it is more likely to knock down all of the pins. Explain why.
  3. What do you have to do to the ball to get it to hook just before it reaches the pins?
  4. Why does the ball hook at the last minute? Why doesn’t it hook at some other point as it goes down the alley? Apply Newton’s third law of motion in your explanation.
  5. Some bowling balls are now being made that hook on their own without the bowler putting spin on them. How does this happen?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Scl chua; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bowlingball.JPG; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Battle Creek CVB; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/battlecreekcvb/4101070640/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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