Basketball-spinning physics teacher

To demonstrate angular momentum, AP physics teacher Dave Hovan showed students how to spin a basketball on the end of a pen while writing with the pen. A student’s video went viral.

Hovan, 31, teaches physics and astronomy at St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) High School. He learned the trick from his high school English teacher, a former Harvard basketball player named Patrick Smith.

Harlem Globetrotters star Handles Franklin will visit Hovan’s AP physics class on Thursday. The teacher has been invited to demonstrate his spinning skills at a Globetrotters’ game on March 15.

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  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    Ah, conservation of angular momentum. Angular momentum goes up as velocity goes up. But the cool part is that it also has a direction. Left to itself, the direction of the spinning object remains the same. The faster it goes, the more it resists changing direction. That’s why it’s hard to balance on a bicycle that is hardly moving but it gets easier and easier as the bicycle speeds up.

    • Florida resident says:

      Hello, Mr. Sweeny !
      1. I am glad to see your valid comments about angular momentum.
      2. I wonder if you had attempted to reach for the book
      “Bad Students, not Bad Schools” by Robert Weissberg.
      About a couple of months ago you declared your interest in doing that.
      Your F.r.