Walker L. Cisler Lecture

The annual Walker L. Cisler Lecture is dedicated to the improvement of science education


the Science Behind the Speed presented by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky


Diandra Leslie-PeleckyProfessor of Physics
West Virginia University

Thursday, March 24, 2011,
7:30 p.m.
Lecture "NASCAR: The Science behind the Speed"
Dessert reception follows
Lear Auditorium (T429)
University Technology and Learning Center

A group of racecars piloted by the best drivers in NASCAR are turning a corner. Without warning, one of the cars suddenly hits the outside wall. There were no engine failures, no flat tires, and none of the cars touched … so what happened?

Physics professor and author of The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky details what it takes to make racecars faster and safer, and why driving a stock car is much harder than you might think. Using current NASCAR science, she discusses why drivers beg their crew chiefs to make their cars turn better, why turning throws the crew chief’s work off balance, why tires are far more than rings of rubber, and how something as simple as leaving an oil-tank lid slightly askew could lead to a competitive advantage.

A nationally recognized researcher in magnetic nanomaterials, Leslie-Pelecky earned a PhD in condensed matter physics from Michigan State University. Her work, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, focuses on the fundamental understanding of magnetic materials and their application to medical diagnosis and treatment processes.