SABR is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game’s great researchers — historians, statisticians, annalists, and archivists — for their invaluable contributions to making baseball the game that links America’s present with its past.
Alan Nathan (1946 – ) has been a professor of physics at the University of Illinois since 1977, with a specialty in experimental nuclear/particle physics. Now a professor emeritus, Nathan has spent the past quarter-century creating a body of knowledge around the physics of baseball. His extensive research and numerous articles, in particular on the collision between the bat and ball and the flight of the baseball, has dramatically expanded our quantitative understanding and visualization of baseball’s most fundamental interactions. Beyond the physical interactions themselves, Nathan’s research has examined their implications, from how a batter’s swing might be optimized to the insights extractable out of the data explosion from ballpark-installed technologies.