The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are fast approaching. Seven TU Delft students and alumni are participating, and we are pleased to introduce them to you. These days sport is not only practised, but also researched. The expertise of the university’s mental gymnasts is brought together at the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute, founded two-and-a-half years ago, where five faculties and many companies, including Adidas, Gazelle and DSM, work in partnership. ‘Sport as science’ brings a number of advantages. The controlled environment of the sports arena, for example, is ideal for experimental research. Scientists, like athletes, want to push back frontiers, so innovations are welcomed with open arms.
For scientists, sport is also a great way to make fundamental research visible and, above all, tangible. When Arend Schwab (3mE) uses a lab-bike to investigate how racing cyclists can whizz down a mountain at breakneck speed without crashing, this knowledge can also be used to help keep our ageing population on their e-bikes. And if putting an improved coating on a racing boat can win rowers a second of time, it can save an oil tanker many litres of fuel. Sports research is a multidisciplinary field, and it has thus found fertile ground in the high-density university landscape of the Netherlands. Our sporting expertise is competitive as a result – hopefully just like our athletes this summer.