Contributors

Simon Choppin

Simon Choppin - Fell Race 1 Simon’s sports engineering career began at the age of six when he loosened the wheels of his skateboard in order to make it go faster. While the experiment was chalked up as his first failure, his resulting dimpled skull has provided an aerodynamic advantage in more recent sporting pursuits.

Academically, Simon completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Mathematics at Nottingham University before joining the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield to start his PhD. His main interests include work with high speed video, mathematical modelling of various sorts and experimental work involving machines with big buttons.

As a sportsman, Simon has an unfortunate lack of talent for anything requiring skill, tactical awareness or the ability to learn from mistakes. He does however seem to posess the ability to move his legs around for a long time until other people get tired, for this reason you’re most likely to see him on a bike of some sort or running up a hill in offensively small shorts.

Simon was fortunate enough to have a stint at the Guardian newspaper as part of the BSA’s media fellowship, which gave him the idea for this blog. Other than this, his writing experience includes his PhD thesis and various postcards to his Mum. Hopefully the length of his blog posts will lie somewhere between the two.

Tom Allen

Picture1 Tom works as a Sports Engineering Researcher within the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University. He specialises in finite element analysis and engineering design. He has given public lectures at the Royal Institute’s Faraday lecture theatre, as well as two dates on an Institute of Engineering and Technology European Lecture Tour. Prior to joining the group at Sheffield Hallam University he graduated from the University of Plymouth, in BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, before undertaking a 6 month internship within the adidas Innovation Team, in Germany. He enjoys a variety of sports including snowboarding, surfing, kayaking and sailing.

Dave James

DaveDavid James is a senior lecturer in sports engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. He leads the University’s MSc in sports engineering and maintains a wide range of research interests. David has a mechanical engineering background with a PhD from the University of Sheffield that focused on modelling the complex bounce of a cricket ball. He has been privileged to work in a world leading research centre for nine years and has published extensively in a range of sports engineering areas. David is a leading science communicator and was recently awarded a prestigious fellowship in public engagement from the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has a reputation for delivering lively, informative and engaging lectures and has appeared on countless stages including the Cheltenham Science Festival; the BA Festival of Science and the Royal Institute’s Faraday lecture theatre.

Steve Haake

SteveAs a physics graduate from the University of Leeds, Steve landed two job offers: the first with BT turned out to be in a porta-cabin in the middle of a marsh, the second was supposed to be image processing but was really smart-bomb design.  This left a third option – a PhD in the mechanics of golf ball impacts on golf greens, an obvious choice for a person who’d never hit a golf ball.  This early decision has led to being head the of a research team of about 30 looking into similarly unlikely topics.

Steves Career highlights to date:  The early years setting up the ISEA with the likes of Steve Mather, Ron Thompson, Clive Grant and Ron Morga.; the fact that  the 1st International Conference on Sports Engineering in Sheffield in 1996 didn’t also turn out to be the last; and getting out the first issue of the first journal on Sports Engineering in 1998.

Steve was also in the British Club in Singapore as a guest of the High Commission when the bid for the 2012 Olympics was announced.  This has led to the team delivering projects with Olympic athletes that every scientist with a love of sport  can only dream of.

Leon Foster

lEONLeon has always had a keen interest in sport, but for all his efforts has never been very successful at developing an ability to match. Leon’s awareness of Sports Engineering developed after wondering why fellow tennis players hit the ball harder and more accurately than him? Why was his exceptionally heavy soapbox racer unable to stop at speed? Why was it so painful to hit a hockey ball with his first wooden hockey stick?

After discovering there were university courses which could help him answer these questions Leon completed an MEng in Sports Engineering at the University of Bath in 2008. He has continued to study, and is currently undertaking a PhD entitled “Modelling technological performance in elite sport” under the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University. His main research interests include historical sporting statistics (looking closely at graphs), mathematical modelling of sporting situations and also experimental testing and evaluation of sporting equipment.

David Curtis

David is the Special Projects Manager in the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University. He has been with the group since January 2000, and has previous engineering experience in the Aerospace and Oil Industries. He is responsible for developing new business, and managing large collaborative projects such as the EU-funded sports cluster initiative SportsPulse, and the cross-University Innovation Futures project. He also works closely with local agencies in the strategic development of the sports business sector in Sheffield. He has a keen interest in cricket and developed a deep knowledge of the science surrounding the performance of cricket bats. He hopes to one day write a definitive book on all aspects of the cricket bat.

Sean Clarkson

Sean started his engineering career at the tender age of 4, continually ‘wiring’ up his parents’ house with string, wool and plastic socket protectors designed to stop him from being interested in electrics!  The fact that he never managed to decapitate his mum and dad remains a mystery, but with this early interest Sean’s future career was sealed.

Also apparent from an early age was Sean’s addiction to water, whether it be on top of it, under it or floating on it.  After pursuing many water related sports including kayaking, scuba diving and sailing it was Sean’s first water sport he settled on- Sailing.  Sean competes regularly in many local and national yacht racing champi
After graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a BEng (Hons) degree in Electronic Engineering Sean then went onto complete an MSc in Electronics & IT also at Sheffield Hallam University.  With such a strong interest in engineering and sport his next move of joining the Centre for Sports Engineering Research as a PhD researcher was only a natural progression.onships throughout England are Ireland with varying degrees of success.

Sean’s main research area is developing 3D camera systems to analyse the way in which the body moves during motion.  From his electronics background Sean is also interested in developing instrumentation and feedback systems to measure the movement of athletes and the equipment they use.  Sean has a strong interest in the application of consumer hardware such as the Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii remote to sports.