One man’s amazing journey to the center of the bowling ball
Understand the nuances of the sport's design. To many, it's a fun pastime, but to fans, bowling is an impossibly complex physics puzzle that can never be mastered. Mo Pinel spent a career reshaping the ball's inner core to harness the power of physics. He revolutionized the sport — and spared no critics along the way. Brendan I. Koerner explores the life of the sport's icon to understand the finer points of bowling ball design. Here, he reflects on the 'intellectual treasure' he uncovered along the way. "Pinel drew up a variety of designs for asymmetric ball cores, then, in April 1990, filed a patent for his favourite. It was a bulbous hunk of polyester with both a central indention and a conic tail, and portions of it resembled the sides of an octagon. The purpose of all this weirdness, as Pinel wrote in his patent application, was to make the ball's motion volatile by design: 'By utilizing different masses and/or dimensions for the head and tip portions, an asymmetrical weight distribution about the roll axis of the ball can be developed.'"