2012 Mines Faculty Senate Distinguished Lecturer McNeil to present “Beyond Leaps of Faith: The Physics of Snowboard Jumping”

GOLDEN, Colo., March 26, 2013 – Dr. Jim McNeil, professor emeritus, Colorado School of Mines Physics Department, will describe his efforts to use basic physics to understand and improve the safety of winter terrain park jumps during his lecture at 4 p.m., March 27, in Metals Hall in the Green Center.

McNeil notes most terrain park jumps are created with little or no engineering considerations, sometimes resulting in serious injuries for riders.

“Sometimes poor snow conditions, rider fatigue, or poor rider decisions were the principal factors leading to the accident, but more often than not accidents would occur on ‘bad’ jumps for no apparent reason,” McNeil said. “It did not take long to understand that the ‘bad’ aspects of such jumps could be understood from basic physics, and thus could in principle be controlled through an engineering design process.”

McNeil received his bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College before entering the military in 1970. Following completion of his service in 1974, he attended graduate school at the University of Maryland from which he received his Ph.D. in physics in 1979. Following two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Jim served on the faculties of Villanova University and Drexel University before joining the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines in 1986.

The Faculty Senate Distinguished Lecturer Award, established in 1990, gives Mines faculty the opportunity to annually recognize one of their outstanding colleagues. They select a lecturer admired and respected as an educator, as well as a person known for having stimulating ideas to convey and an ability to communicate those ideas effectively.

For more information, see the Faculty Senate website.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu