David Alciatore, or â€œDr. Dave,â€ an associate mechanical engineering professor, uses the game of pool to illustrate physics principles by filming various tricks on his pool table at home and showing them to his classes.
â€œA lot of people think itâ€™s fun and different,â€ he said. â€œI think it has a novelty to it.â€
Alciatore said he enjoys teaching complicated concepts through a fun game that his students can relate to.
Kevin Meyers, a freshman mechanical engineering major, is taking Alciatoreâ€™s MECH 102 class, mechanical engineering problem solving.
â€œYou go into his class and itâ€™s not a boring lecture,â€ he said. â€œHe brings actual engineering into it.â€
The concepts of friction, rotation, impact, energy transfers, momentum, speed and collisions are all illustrated on Alciatoreâ€™s pool table.
â€œItâ€™s better to actually see something than just talk about it,â€ Alciatore said.
He said he loves it when students come up to him after class and tell him theyâ€™re going to try out the things they learned on their pool table at home.
â€œItâ€™s exciting,â€ he said. â€œSome people just want the hardcore engineering concepts, but most people really enjoy it.â€
Alciatoreâ€™s passion for physics began in high school when he realized he loved applying concepts, such as math, to real devices.
In college, he worked at a tutoring center, which sparked his interest in teaching. He said itâ€™s a challenge to help people learn tough concepts, but he also says that the challenge is worth it.
â€œI always liked learning things and sharing them,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s what teaching is all about: learning and sharing.â€
Alciatore also uses the concepts of physics to help people improve their pool skills. He has a website through the university, â€“â€“ www.billiards.colostate.edu â€“â€“ that has videos and other modules that explain the physics behind the game of pool.
He is also a member of a weekly pool team called â€œOne More Shotâ€ and writes a monthly article for Billiards Digest Magazine.
Meyersâ€™ friend and fellow classmate major Darryl Beemer asked Alciatore to share his wealth of pool knowledge with them outside of class about three weeks ago. They invited him to play pool at their fraternity, FarmHouse, along with their friend and classmate Kevin Westhoff.
â€œDr. Dave is a pool genius and expert,â€ sophomore mechanical engineering Beemer said. â€œAnd heâ€™s a really fun guy to be around.â€
Alciatore showed his students how to do different backspins and trick shots, while correcting their basic fundamental skills.
â€œHe has quite an impressive background in pool and billiards,â€ Westhoff said. â€œHis passion for pool is pretty obvious.â€
After a couple of hours the students were playing at a much higher level than they were before.
â€œEverything falls together,â€ he said. â€œThe stuff weâ€™re learning really does apply to real life.â€
Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All about Dr. Dave
- Created a website that explains physics behind billiards and pool
- A member of the pool team â€œOne More Shotâ€
- Writes instructional articles for Billiards Digest Magazine