Sports and STEM: What Are the Ramifications?

Leroy Watson Jr.Senior Writer IAugust 8, 2009

Some of you might have noticed a new article tag on Bleacher Report. It is called “Sports and STEM.”


Just what is it, when can it be applied, and why was it created?


What is “STEM”?


“STEM” is the National Science Foundation acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”


After Professor Giles (a.k.a. Damali Binta Yael) won POTD with her stunning article melding sports, math, and education, she proposed a most unusual and poignant idea: creation of a new B/R tab to be called “Sports and STEM.”


Professor Giles and I have already begun contacting people outside of the B/R world to get their support for this initiative.


Our thinking is that we can introduce the younger contributors on this site to the love of education, through showing them how sports & science go hand-in-hand.



When Can the STEM tag be applied?


We are in the process now of going back through the B/R catalog and identifying articles that focus on the following areas:


            •  Mathematical and/or statistical analysis, i.e. sabermetrics


            •  Technological advances that affect major sports


            •  Changes in fundamental equipment and conditions in major sports


            •  Application of calculus, geometry and other sciences to explain sports



Perhaps that oversimplifies things a bit, but we trust that this gives you some ideas.


We already have a few writers that we would like to target.


Daniel Abbas, Seth Doria, Zach Fein, Rajat Jain, Randy Lutz, and Kurt Wirth are legendary for their love of numbers and analyzing what they mean.


Rajat recently contributed an article that explored the speed of various surfaces that tennis matches are contested on which we have already tagged.


I have contacted Seth, and he promises to send me a list of his articles that he would like to nominate for the tag. We would like to request the same of the other writers on this list, too.


However, we are also aware that there must be plenty of other writers whose work consistently qualifies for the STEM tag. Just because we might not know you by name (yet) does not mean that we do not wish to have you on our radar!


Right now, we want to aggressively identify articles that qualify. We do request that if you see an article which you feel might qualify that you PM either myself or Professor Giles (Damali Binta-Yael) so that we may examine it and tag it.



Why Was the STEM Tag Created?


This is the first step in a long, ambitious project that we hope will provide benefits for everyone involved: the Bleacher Report site as a whole; contributors to the site who enjoy reading and writing articles that are mathematical, scientific, or technological in nature; and college students majoring in math and sciences.


The site will benefit in two ways: one real and immediate, a second hypothetical and future.


The immediate benefit to B/R would be an influx of new contributors. We envision that bright young college students will be fascinated by the opportunity to read articles by and get advice from contributors who write about their field of academic endeavor.


For instance, claudia celestial girl is a scientist who works for NASA. She also happens to be a huge fan of tennis.


Imagine a young aeronautical enthusiast writing an article about some space-age material being used in tennis...and being critiqued by Claudia on the attempt!


The potential exists for a student to write a thesis for his or her schoolwork that can be edited for grammar and also reviewed for content; if there is a structural flaw or improper application of logic, this can be pointed out to the student, who can work to correct it.


In other words, B/R has the potential to see an influx of new contributors who could, in turn, have the opportunity to learn practical applications of their chosen field of study. They can also see their writing skills sharpened in the process.


We might also see an increase in new members who are not collegians, but who are intrigued by the possibility of reading and writing articles that deal with subjects that fit under the STEM tag.


Ultimately, however, Professor Giles has her eyes on a much larger prize. She hopes to uncover enough interest in this initiative to organize a formal Community here on Bleacher Report.


As it is, we suggest that anyone interested in reading STEM-related articles click here and join our little community!


She is already scheduled to attend a conference on education in September. Her desire is to have as many well-written STEM articles possible to show fellow educators, so that they may see the hunger that the Bleacher Creatures have for STEM-related articles.


If all goes well, she then hopes to be able to present a comprehensive program to the United States government that would make the STEM Community eligible for federal grants.


Wrap your mind around that possibility!


Keep in mind that this idea is still evolving; we have no idea of all the potential ramifications of this undertaking.


We’re determined to find out, however.


At a minimum, writers now have the incentive to indulge their desire to write about subjects that are mathematical, scientific, or technological in nature. If that’s the only thing that comes out of this, we will be happy with that.


We’re shooting for the stars; landing on the moon will be an acceptable conclusion, too.