An article titled “Let's Do Launch: More Musings on Projectile Motion” by Robert Kantrowitz ’82, professor and chair of mathematics, appears in the Spring 2011 edition of the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal.
In the paper, Kantrowitz and co-author Michael M. Neumann of Mississippi State University address the problem of finding a manageable formula for the initial angle of elevation that maximizes the displacement of a projectile launched from a tower and landing on a mountain. Computer algebra systems are helpful when applied to the classical critical point approach from calculus. Their shortcomings can be overcome by different methods that lead to a surprisingly simple formula for the best launch angle. As an application, the article discusses optimal home runs for the game of tee ball.