Physics and Gravity on the Ice at the Olympic Games

Few things celebrate and display our dance with gravity more viscerally than the Olympic Games. “This month in Pyeongchang, elite teams of physics and materials science experts from all over the world will dazzle us with ostentatious displays of grace and power. We commonly refer to these experts as athletes.” Is the delightful first line of “How Physics Keeps Figure Skaters Gracefully Aloft,” recently published on Smithsonian.com.

“A skater’s every twist, turn and leap begins with balance. And balance relies on being able to keep your center of mass—which, as the name implies, is the center of where an object’s mass is located—directly over a point of contact with the ice. For a highly symmetric object like a circle or sphere, that is in the dead center. For the lumpier, bumpier shape of the human body, the center of mass varies from person to person but tends to be a bit below the navel.”

Real the whole article here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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