Werner Stengel in front of the Colossos roller coaster in
(Photo: Courtesy Ing. Büro Stengel)
Roller Coaster Designer Werner Stengel receives Honorary Doctorate
The Faculty of Science at Göteborg university has awarded Werner Stengel
the title Doctor honoris causa.
... in recognition of his
inexhaustible creativity which connects physics and design with the
experience of the body in roller coasters and other rides.
Werner Stengel's career in the amusement industry started in 1963 when
he joined Anton Schwarzkopf . One of their first joint projects was the
first German roller coaster, the Super Acht, which had its premier for
the Oktoberfest in Munich in 1964. Since then, he and his team have been
involved in nearly 500 roller coasters around the world, as well as in
many other types of rides, including ferris wheels, bumper cars, water
rides and 92 different carousel types.
The Roller Coaster Data Base,
writes about his work :
"Simply put, Werner Stengel has been involved with more roller coasters
than anyone. Stengel is involved with so many roller coasters because he
does not build or sell the roller coasters, but works with most of the
manufacturers that do. The type of work provided by Stengel varies from
client to client and project to project. These services include design,
layout and calculations for every aspect of roller coasters as well as
other amusement rides. "
Throughout his career, his work has brought many innovations to
the field and we are likely to encounter some of them
as we strap down for a roller coaster ride, as
discussed elsewhere in this issue [3,4].
Since 1988 Werner Stengel is part of a research group investigating
health strains on the human body in roller coasters, especially during
Roller coaster innovations in education
Werner Stengel's roller coaster innovations
provide wonderful examples for physics and math
education: Sections of extended airtime are useful to help
straighten out common
student misconceptions about weightlessness . The track shape for a
clothoid loop can be an interesting programming exercise and the
appearance of Fresnel integrals and Cornu spirals in another context
than diffraction demonstrates the ubiquitous presence of mathematics .
The mathematical concept of a space curve may seem abstract - but not to
the rider in another of Werner Stengel's roller coaster
The usefulness of the "g-force" concept is closely linked to the
equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass.
Roller coasters provide inspiring examples of mathematics, physics and
technology in positive settings and the enjoyment of roller coasters is essentially gender-neutral.
In roller coasters, a lot of the fun is physics!
- Ing. Büro Stengel, http://www.rcstengel.com
- The Roller Coaster Database,
- A roller coaster viewed through motion tracker data,
A-M Pendrill and H Rödjegård, this issue
- Roller Coaster Loop Shapes, A-M Pendrill, this issue