How 'bout some physics with that slap shot? The science of the Winter Olympic Games

An online video series explains the science behind the athletes of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, including figure skaters, speed skaters, hockey players, skiers and curlers.
Written by Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Inactive

The Vancouver Olympic Games are in February, which means it’s almost time for the biannual bafflement over the triple axel—and other super-human feats. But what happens when you examine the performances of a figure skater, bobsledder or curler under the microscope?

It’s all about science, baby.

To help us understand how scientific principals allow competitive athletes to do what they do, NBC Learn, NBC Olympics and the National Science Foundation have launched a 16-part video series: The Science of the Olympic Winter Games. Each video in the series shows scientists explaining the science, while Olympic athletes explain how it applies to their sports.

For example, the videos explain how angular momentum helps one of the world’s top-ranked figure skaters achieve the perfect triple-toe loop; how Newton’s Three Laws of Motion propel a speed skater; and how elastic collision allows a hockey player to convert a game-winning slap shot. The series also looks at the biochemistry of human endurance, the physics of a 90-mile-per-hour Alpine ski ride and the friction behind the peculiar sport of curling.

Here's a look at one of the videos:

To watch the rest of the series, check out NBC's Olympics site.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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