To provide her students a fresh way to look at fluid dynamics, Jenn Rossmann, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, began using Wiffle balls in her classes and labs.
In 2007, she published her work with students on the forces that affect the trajectory of a Wiffle ball in American Journal of Physics. The publication drew the attention of professional Wiffle ball players looking to improve their game, and she was then featured in the documentary Yard Work, which chronicles the world of professional Wiffle ball and its championship game, played each year in Texas. Today, using wind tunnels and computer models, she has the most advanced lab in the world dedicated to measuring the aerodynamics of the Wiffle ball.
Over the past year, her research has been featured in dozens of national news outlets including Wired magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post.