The Physicist Who Figured Out Ballet (

September 11, 2008

balletKen Laws is a professor emeritus of physics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also has a very serious case of balletomania. When his daughter and son decided to take ballet classes as children, so did he. After his children stopped taking ballet, Laws continued for another three decades.

Early on, frustrated with instructions from his teachers that he considered impressionistic, Laws started applying his knowledge of physics to jetés, fouettés, and other balletic motion. Conservation of angular momentum is perhaps the most important physical principle in ballet, but there’s more to ballet than rotation.

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