What was the Jacksonville Project?

This was a high-speed video study of pool physics stuff carried out by Bob Jewett, Mike Shamos, and others in Jacksonville, Florida in 1998. Here’s a list of the original questions they hoped to answer with the study:


These articles describe the study and the results:

  • “Uncovering the Cue Mysteries” by Mike Shamos (Billiards Digest, April, 1999)
  • “Freeze Frame” by Bob Jewett (Billiards Digest, April, 1999)
  • “Don’t Grip It and Rip It” by Bob Jewett (Billiards Digest, June, 1999)

All three of these articles are available here: Jacksonville Project BD articles.

Here’s a summary of some of the main results:

  • During impact, the cue tip is in contact with the cue ball only for about 0.001 second (a thousandth of a second).
  • Contact time is greater with larger tip offsets from center (since the cue tip rotates with the CB during contact, and the cue slows less during contact).
  • With an off-center hit, the cue stick deflects away from the cue ball substantially.
  • During miscues, the cue stick often hits the cue ball multiple times.
  • With a typical stroke, the tip reaches maximum speed (i.e., it is no longer accelerating) just before contact with the ball.

Videos and results from many other high-speed-video studies can be found here:

slow-motion video studies

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