Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil’s Photo of Simone Biles mid-routine during the 2016 Olmypics.
Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil’s Photo of Simone Biles mid-routine during the 2016 Olmypics.

Game-Changing Physics

Photo Credit: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

How do you change the game? On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, we begin our “Game Changers” mini-series where we look at techniques, technology, and materials that have changed the sporting world. To start, Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice, and astrophysicist Charles Liu are exploring the techniques that have re-shaped sports. 

We kick things off by exploring Simone Biles performing a “Triple Double.” We discuss how Simone raised the bar on difficulty and technique while gracefully demonstrating how physics works. Charles takes us behind the physics to explain the gravity and rotation happening during the move. Then, we move on to a clip from Neil’s interview with NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You’ll find out how Kareem pioneered the sky hook. And, we discuss why, when performed exceptionally, it’s illegal to block a sky hook.

We head back to the Olympics as we discuss the “Fosbury Flop” and how it changed the high jump forever. Why does the Fosbury Flop work? Charles tells us how Dick Fosbury basically took his center of mass outside his body. We ponder if there will be another technique that improves on the Fosbury Flop or if that’s the limit in the high jump. Then, you’ll hear how Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses used math and physics to run a “shorter” race in the 400 meter hurdles. 

Lastly, we re-visit our show with Sasha Cohen as she takes us through the process of pulling off a quadruple jump. You’ll learn how some athletes have to make “in-routine” adjustments. All that, plus, we investigate the importance of psychology when it comes to pushing past what you thought was possible. 

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

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