Steve Haake is the author of Advantage Play: Technologies that Changed Sporting History, published by Birlinn in 2018. He has a first-class degree in physics from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the University of Aston, sponsored by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. After a year travelling the world in a 2CV van, driving through the Middle East, India and ending up in Sydney, he returned to the UK to work first as a researcher and then lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield. He built up a sports engineering research group in the 1990s, establishing the journal Sports Engineering, the International Sports Engineering Association and the biannual International Conference on the Engineering of Sport. He has acted as a consultant to Callaway Golf in California, Adidas in Germany, and the International Tennis Federation in London.
He moved to Sheffield Hallam University in 2006, eventually setting up the Centre for Sports Engineering Research, the largest academic centre of its kind in the world. He has published six edited books of conference proceedings, authored over 200 journal papers on the physics and engineering of sport, and written articles for New Scientist, Physics World, Ingenia and Times Higher Education. He has appeared on television (BBC News, C4 News, BBC 2’s ‘Newsnight’), radio (BBC Radio 1, Radio 4 and Radio 5, as well as local radio) and created five films for the Royal Institution’s online TV channel in London. He was both scientific advisor and presenter for the hour-long documentaries ‘Equalizer’ and ‘Champions v Legends’, which appeared on CBC’s ‘The Nature of Things’ in 2016 and 2018; these investigated the science and technology of old equipment and compared ten modern Olympians to their peers from yesteryear.
He was awarded a senior media fellowship by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in 2010 and a fellowship by the International Sports Engineering Association in 2012, and was identified in 2014 as one of the 10 most inspirational scientists in the UK by Research Councils UK.
He was Founding Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. This centre seeks to take the technologies and lessons learnt in sport and translate them into technologies that will help people become more active. The grand vision is for the centre to help improve the quality of life of UK citizens by using sport and physical activity as treatment for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia.
Steve is a keen runner with distances from five kilometres to ultra-marathons: his personal best in a marathon is 3 hours 17 minutes. He is enthusiastic about the history and science of sport and regularly presents lectures to audiences as diverse as running clubs, science festivals, scientific institutions and international conferences – and to his family at the dinner table.
He is currently mulling over a second book…