In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

General topics of interest to racers and race coordinators alike.
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In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

Post by FatSebastian » Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:36 pm

I only recently became aware that John Dewey Jobe, Ph.D., aka "Doc Jobe" passed away in September 2021 at age 85, during the waning days of the COVID pandemic.

For those that are unaware, Doc Jobe was a physicist who spent his later years analyzing the physics of Pinewood Derby racing. He documented his efforts on his website and through his 500+ page self-published textbook entitled "The Physics of the Pinewood Derby - With Engineering Applications". He also marketed a Windows program called Virtual Racing that graphically simulated the outcomes of Pinewood Derby races; race outcomes changed by varying the track and car specifications. He proposed and patented a modified track profile - the "Cycloid ramp for gravity race cars" - that induces minimal pitching forces on a Pinewood Derby car to maximize car performance. Sadly, with his passing, it seems that most of his paid product offerings, some of which were unique, are no longer available (except for perhaps the Virtual Racing program, which was developed by a programmer).

I admired his sincere desire to introduce aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to children through Pinewood Derby racing. He operated his LLC without regard to profit, and was eager to communicate with those who took an interest or had questions about his work. Although his equations of motion were approximations, they were sufficiently accurate to quantify via simulation many operating principles that others learned via empirical "laboratory" experience. For example, in his Lecture 1b, he noted that lubrication and alignment, aerodynamics, and trim weighting can all influence the time-to-finish to about the same level. Therefore, much to the disappointment of beginners, there simply isn't "one most-important thing" that unlocks performance.

He was especially proud of his textbook, which he digitally typeset, illustrated, and printed himself, and then had professionally bound in hard cover believing that it would become a collector's item someday. It is an impressive tome, not likely to be surpassed in its detail and scope. He slightly revised and corrected his book over time, with the date of the printing indicated on the lower right of the inside cover page. The copy I have is dated 7-13-07.

It would be interesting to know how many DTers made the investment in The Physics of the Pinewood Derby. If you have a copy of the book, perhaps you can add a comment noting which printing date you have, and what you might have learned from it or his website...

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Re: In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

Post by whodathunkit » Mon Mar 06, 2023 8:38 pm

I wish I would have picked up one of his books.
From what iv seen and read about his text book
It was 15 years of his work and research.

The things I recall in his book:
Is that he even had troubles with collet type pen vises
and used vice grips and a 3/8 or 10 mm wrench to tighten down the Collet on a number 44 drill bit.
How he used 2 spare wheels
And taped them together to use as an axle drill jig.
His axle lube apparatus.
Notched narrowed front ends for closing up the front wheels gaps to the track rail.
His yard stick and drill bit fulcrum with 7 flat tooth pick’s
0.06q balance and Stack of 24 quarters and 1 penny.
Q- tips for polishing wheel bores..

Way to much to recall and list:

He will be missed but not forgotten.

What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

Post by gpraceman » Tue Mar 07, 2023 5:27 pm

Sorry to hear that he passed. I had some communications with him many years ago. He indicated that he had a company that was going to produce his track and pendulum gate design. That never came to fruition. I did base my electromagnetic start gate on the pendulum gate principles.

Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

Post by Speedster » Sat Mar 11, 2023 12:31 pm

Thank you FS for letting us know he passed. He will be missed.
I still use the book with the young scouts I come in contact with. On the first page he wrote, To: William Klingler, Hope you enjoy the book - Happy Racing, Dr. John Jobe, 12-19-2006. I think of him often. What a Great book and a Great Guy.

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Re: In Memoriam: Dr. John D. Jobe

Post by murphken » Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:46 pm

I read all his papers. It was a contributor to helping my son race in scouts. In addition, the information helped me to get where I was when I raced these little wooden cars.

It is amazing how far we have come over the years by sharing information. The Doctor sure put some insight into the sport. This website is another good example of sharing knowledge. You guys actually created this monster inside of me. I miss racing and moving the needle. The times have leveled off so we are probably finished our mission. It sure was fun getting here.

I still remember

SHINING LIGHT Pinewood Derby & Audio

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