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Fontanella, John J. 1945-

Fontanella, John J. 1945-


Born December 20, 1945. Education: Westminster College, B.S., 1967; Case Institute of Technology, M.S., 1969; Case Western Reserve University, Ph.D., 1971.


Home—Annapolis, MD. Office—Physics Department, United States Naval Academy, 572C Holloway Rd., Rm. 043, Chauvenet Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402; fax: (410) 293-5508. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, officer instructor, 1971-74, assistant professor, 1974-78, associate professor, 1978-84, professor of physics, 1984—.


The Physics of Basketball, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Dielectric Spectroscopy of Polymeric Materials, edited by J.P. Runt and J.J. Fitzgerald, American Chemical Society (Washington, DC), 1997. Contributor to academic journals, including Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, Journal of Chemical Physics, Macromolecules, Electrochimica Acta, and Solid State Ionics.


John J. Fontanella, a professor of physics at the United States Naval Academy, is the author of The Physics of Basketball, an exploration of the scientific dimensions of the sport. In the work, Fontanella, a former All-American basketball player at Westminster College, examines the effect of spin on a basketball, looks at the four forces that act upon a ball in flight, and describes how to shatter a backboard. He also identifies the "sweet spot" on a backboard, explores the effects of air buoyancy on a basketball's weight, and discusses proper shooting form. Fontanella notes, for example, that the key to making a free throw is to use the correct launch angle (fifty-one degrees for most players). Fontanella contends that the ball should reach the basket at the slowest possible speed and with the least energy, giving rise to a softer shot and decreasing the probability that the ball will bounce off the rim. He also proposes that coaches can use videotapes of games and practices for quantitative analysis and offers a technique to determine the angle at which an individual shoots. According to Bryce Christensen, reviewing The Physics of Basketball in Booklist, the author "recognizes the value of science that translates into on-court techniques."



Booklist, October 1, 2006, Bryce Christensen, review of The Physics of Basketball, p. 17.

SciTech Book News, March, 2007, review of The Physics of Basketball.


John Fontanella Home Page, (July 1, 2007).

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