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 https://salesforce.com/veritasium to learn more.
Huge thanks to Steve Kloempken and all of Storm Bowling for letting us 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 us.
Huge thanks to Creative Electron for their help with getting the bowling balls X-rayed. Check out their work here: https://creativeelectron.com/
Thanks to Ron Hatfield and James Freeman for their help with research. Check out their great book, Bowling Beyond the Basics: https://ve42.co/HatfieldFreeman
Thanks to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) for their help with accessing archival data and footage.
Special thanks to Rod Cross for physics consultation.
Thanks to Bill Guszczo for giving us 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. — https://ve42.co/HatfieldFreeman
N. Stremmel, P. Ridenour and S. Sterbenz. “Identifying the Critical Factors That Contribute to Bowling Ball Motion on a Bowling Lane.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. — https://ve42.co/BallMotionASQ
USBC Equipment Specifications and Certification Team. “Ball Motion Study: Phase I and II Final Report.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. — https://ve42.co/USBCBallMotion
Brettingen, Patrick, and Nicki Mours. “USBC static weight limits remain relevant.” United States Bowling Congress, 2011. — https://ve42.co/USBCStaticWeight
Article on lane oil origins — https://ve42.co/OilOrigins
Luna, Richard. “Bruce Pluckhahn says there’s a little bit of bowling…” United Press International Archives, 1984. — https://ve42.co/BowlingHistory
Johnson, Brody D. “The Physics of Bowling: How good bowlers stay off the straight and narrow.” St. Louis University. — https://ve42.co/JohnsonPhysicsPpt
Talamo, Jim. “The Physics of Bowling Balls.” — https://ve42.co/TalamoPhysicsPpt
Thompson, Ted. “Breakdown and Carrydown – Then and Now.” Kegel. 2012. — https://ve42.co/ThompsonKegel
Frohlich, Cliff. “What Makes Bowling Balls Hook?” American Journal of Physics, vol. 72, no. 9, 2004, pp. 1170–1177., https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1767099. — https://ve42.co/FrohlichHook
Article on bowling’s ranking in participatory sports — https://ve42.co/BowlingRank
Speranza, Dan, and Dave Nestor. “Initial Oil Absorption Results.” United States Bowling Congress, 2016. — https://ve42.co/USBCOilAbsorption
D. Benner, N. Mours, and P. Ridenour. “Pin Carry Study: Bowl Expo 2009.” United States Bowling Congress, 2009. — https://ve42.co/USBCPinCarry
Hopkins, D. C., and J. D. Patterson. “Bowling Frames: Paths of a Bowling Ball.” American Journal of Physics, vol. 45, no. 3, 1977, pp. 263–266., https://doi.org/10.1119/1.11005. — https://ve42.co/HopkinsPath
Normani, Franco. “The Physics of Bowling.” Real World Physics Problems. — https://ve42.co/NormaniPhysics
Horaczek, Stan. “The insides of pro bowling balls will make your head spin.” Popular Science, 2020. — https://ve42.co/HoraczekSpin
House shot oil pattern — https://ve42.co/HouseOil. 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 Iván 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