About Associate Professor Rod Cross

I work on the physics of sport and forensic physics, specifically falling accidents.

B.Sc. Dip. Ed, the University of Sydney. Doctor of Philosophy in plasma physics. Worked in the Plasma Physics Department at the University of Sydney, specialising in Alfven wave studies in the TORTUS tokamak. I continue work on the physics of sport and forensic physics.

Associate Professor, School of Physics, Faculty of Science.


Research Interests:  Forensic Physics, Plasma Physics and Physics of Sports.

Consultant to Tennis Australia, International Tennis Federation, NSW Coroner and the  NSW Homicide Squad.

Current Research Projects

  1. Falling Accidents.
    Falling accidents represent a very significant cost to the community,  comparable to the cost of traffic accidents (both around $40 billion pa in the USA). Traffic accidents are well researched. Falling accidents are not. The physics of falling helps to explain how the fall may have occurred and how falls may be prevented. One of the more common methods of falling is falling down stairs. This is being investigated using a number of techniques, including the analysis of actual falls recorded on security film.
  2. Swinging a bat or club or racquet.
    Film of the swing of a bat or club or racquet provides information on the techniques used and the forces and torques required to swing the implement. The role of the wrist is often discussed, but there are not many measurements of the actual wrist torque used when swinging an implement. This is currently being investigated, using a baseball bat as an example.

Selected publications

  • R. Cross, Forensic Physics 101: Falls from a height, Am. J. Phys, in press.
  • R. Cross, Fatal falls from a height: two case studies, J Forensic Science, 51, 93-99 (2006).