The picture above is from the cover of RollerCoaster! (Vol. IX, Issues 3-4, 1988), the official magazine of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. The coaster is the Shock Wave, Six Flags Great America, Gurnee Illinois (photo by Six Flags Great America). The American Coaster Enthusiasts -- ACE for short -- is a haven for those of us who don't want to leave rollercoasters behind as we grow up. In fact many of us find ways to bring coasters into our adult worlds. For example, I analyzed them in the classroom during the years I was teaching dynamics to sophomores in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Rochester. This ultimately led to a three-part primer on coaster dynamics, in which the passenger experience was interpreted via Newton's laws. Those articles were published in RollerCoaster! and are available for download below.


Primer Part I -- Plane and Fancy. Rollercoaster! Volume IX, Issues 3-4, p. 30-37, 1988 (pdf 240k).


Primer Part II -- You Can Bank on Them. Rollercoaster! Volume X, Issue 1, p. 32-37, 1989 (pdf 276k)


Primer Part III -- Passengers Entrained. Rollercoaster! Volume X, Issue 3, p. 24-29, 1989 (pdf 412k)


Here are a few more coaster sites that you might enjoy.

Ultimate Roller Coaster

Coaster Photo Center

Cedar Point





Al Clark

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY 14627