September 25, 2020

New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl/Columbia physicist says the weather probably didn’t make the Patriots’ game balls deflate

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new-england-patriots-2By Tony Manfred From Mashable

Ever since the NFL learned the footballs used by the New England Patriots in their 45-7 AFC title game victory over the Indianapolis Colts were underinflated, there has been vigorous debate about whether the balls could have deflated naturally because of the weather.

Some say it could have. Others say it couldn’t have. And a little back-of-the-napkin math says that even if going from a warm environment to a cool environment could have deflated the balls, it couldn’t have deflated them that much.

Apparently, the NFL is just as interested in this topic as people on the internet are.

The New York Times reports that the law firm conducting the league’s investigation contacted the Columbia physics department to speak with someone about gas physics.

In the Times article, Columbia physics professor William Zajc said it was “more likely than not” that the deflation was caused by tampering, not the weather:

William Zajc, another Columbia physicist who was aware of the request by Reisner, said that he was tempted to field the questions because of all the flawed physics discussions he had seen in news media reports.

“I’m amused,” Zajc said of the query. But in the end, he said, “I didn’t do it.”

Zajc said he believed there was little chance that atmospheric effects alone could account for the discrepancies in the football pressure.

“I think it’s more likely than not that they were manipulated,” Zajc said.

Zajc is a big deal in the physics world. From his Wikipedia page:

Since the 1980s, his research has focused on experiments performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island, New York, first at the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) and now at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). He was co-spokesperson of the AGS E859 experiment, which investigated strangeness production in heavy ion collisions, and later spokesperson of the PHENIX experiment at RHIC from 1997 to 2006. PHENIXis a multinational collaboration with over 500 scientists from more than a dozen countries and is one of the two large experiments at RHIC. PHENIX, along with three other RHIC experiments, determined that the relativistic heavy ion collisions at RHIC were successful in creating the quark–gluon plasma (QGP), a state of matter believed to have existed approximately 10 microseconds after the Big Bang. The RHIC experiments also discovered that this matter is in fact strongly interacting and nearly a perfect fluid. Since stepping down after nine years of dedicated service as spokesperson of PHENIX, he continues his research with the experiment, further characterizing the hot, dense matter formed in the collisions.

The Patriots have been adamant they have done nothing wrong. Coach Bill Belichick says the balls deflated by themselves because of the weather and the “rubbing process” the team uses to get them ready for the game.

The league’s findings on the issue aren’t expected to be known for several weeks.
For more on this story go to: http://www.businessinsider.com/columbia-physicist-on-deflated-balls-2015-1#ixzz3QF6MgMIW

Related story:

The Microsoft Engine That Nailed The World Cup Is Predicting Every NFL Game — Here’s Its Pick For The Super Bowl

tom-brady-patsBy Tony Manfred From Business Insider

Microsoft’s Cortana is picking the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

The predicted final score: Patriots 24, Seahawks 23.

Cortana is a Windows Phone virtual assistant that uses a Bing Predicts algorithm to predict every NFL game. It picks games straight up, not against the point spread.

It had a 178-88 (66.9%) record this season, which was nearly identical to that of the Las Vegas betting favorites. The Bing Predicts algorithm was beaten out by Nate Silver’s ELO model, which went 184-82 (69.1%).

Cortana is 8-2 picking playoff games after correctly predicting both conference title games. While it’s not as impressive as the 15-1 record it had in the World Cup knockout stages, it’s still a strong finish.

Here is Cortana’s Super Bowl pick. We’ll update it throughout the week if it changes (Vegas favorite in parentheses):

Seattle Seahawks versus New England Patriots — Patriots win, 51.5% chance (Patriots -1)

Cortana and Vegas agree that the Pats are favored.

Here are Cortana’s results this year:

Week 1 — 10-6
Week 2 — 9-7
Week 3 – 10-6
Week 4 — 5-8
Week 5 — 13-2
Week 6 — 11-4
Week 7 — 11-4
Week 8 — 10-5
Week 9 — 9-4
Week 10 — 9-4
Week 11 — 8-6
Week 12 — 11-4
Week 13 — 10-6
Week 14 — 10-6
Week 15 — 13-3
Week 16 — 9-7
Week 17 — 12-4
Round One — 3-1
Round Two — 3-1
Conference championships — 2-0
Total — 178-88

IMAGE: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

For more on this story go to: http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-cortana-super-bowl-pick-2015-1#ixzz3QFW27dRd

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