Seems harmless enough right? But then I went on to say, “Pick a topic, …any topic whatsoever, and we will apply these techniques to analyze it.” And yes, that was where I had failed to truly anticipate the effect of surging hormones on pubescent males. What else could possibly be on the minds of teenage males? Of course they said, “BOOBS!”
It’s true, I could have said something like “…yeah, very funny. Pick another topic.” But I really wanted to get the students eyes out of the textbook and looking at the world around them in an analytical frame of mind. They were clearly already looking in that particular direction, and I don’t think I ever had a class achieve such rapt attention and engagement in any other prospect. In retrospect, students seem to have a keen sense of when a teacher is walking a razors edge, and I should have been more wary of their finely tuned instincts for instructional embarrassments. Well, I seized the day, as they say. What can I say? I was young and brash.
And so began my discourse on how one might go about designing a bra; mass, moments of inertia, oscillation, resonance, damping, elasticity, and energy storage in material design all figured prominently. I tried to move from diagrams of breasts in motion to more abstract free-body diagrams of forces and equations as quickly as possible, but the damage was done. I think it may have taken all of about 30 seconds after the class was dismissed for the news of my enlightened Physics lesson to be relayed across the school, to the entire student body, the faculty, the school administration, the parents and even the school board.
Thankfully, however, another firm has now taken up the challenge of properly modeling, simulating, rendering, and articulating (ahem) in fact, the issues surrounding proper sports bra design. If only I had had this tool available for my fateful lesson. Witness the Bounce-O-Meter, a web site application that demonstrates how proper bra design impacts comfort during strenuous activities.