January 26, 2017 4:23 pm

Announcing StarTalk Playing with Science, Our New Podcast where Geeks and Jocks Collide.

There are some moments in sports that are so iconic, they get a name.

The Immaculate Reception.
The Greatest Catch in NFL History.
The Called Shot.
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.
The Miracle on Ice.
The Thrilla in Manila.

Still photo frame of Babe Ruth's called shot from 1932 film by Matt Kandle, Copyright Kirk M. Kandle, coutesy of Wikipedia.

Babe Ruth calls his shot. Still photo from 16mm film shot by Matt Kandle in 1932. Photo/Film copyright: Kirk M. Kandle. Courtesy of Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ruth1932-1.jpg


If you’re a sports fan, you know each of these intimately. They are the stuff of legend.

But they are also the stuff of physics.

What would the velocity and trajectory of a football need to be to start off in the hands of Terry Bradshaw, bounce off either Jack Tatum or Frenchy Fuqua, and end up in the hands of Franco Harris? What does the law of conservation of momentum have to do with the outcome of the most famous play in NFL history, which gave the Pittsburgh Steelers the win over the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 AFC Division Playoff and started a vicious rivalry that burns to this day.

Physics and sports go together like, well, like physics and everything else.

What puts the line in “line drive”? What causes a tennis ball, endowed with top spin, to skip like a school child? What causes a football to spiral like a galaxy?

You know what else goes together with sports? Technology. Like the specially designed gloves that helped Odell Beckham Jr. make the greatest catch in NFL history, or the revolutionary materials used to make running shoes and racing bikes.

Physics, technology, sports… how could we resist?

Welcome to our new podcast, StarTalk Playing with Science.

It’s where geeks and nerds collide.

Our guests will include some of sport’s most recognizable athletes, like basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, cyclist Lance Armstrong, and US Women’s Olympic Soccer star Hope Solo, as well as sports experts, coaches, pundits, and scientists like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and physicist John Eric Goff.

Calling the plays on this new show are not one, but two hosts.

The first is Gary O’Reilly, a British sports analyst and broadcaster who was also a professional British soccer player.

The second host is our own Chuck Nice, who is moving up from co-host to host for Playing with Science. It wouldn’t be StarTalk without the comedy, but Chuck’s bringing more than jokes. He’s got serious chops when it comes to sports, as you’ll soon find out.

In fact, why wait until our premiere on February 1?

We’ve put together a sneak peak for you, which we call “Episode Zero.” You’ll get to meet Gary and Chuck, and then listen to some clips from our show about the Immaculate Reception, including Neil deGrasse Tyson talking with NY Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick about the role of luck in football. You can listen here now:

New episodes of StarTalk Playing with Science will premiere every Wednesday night at 7pm ET.

You can listen to StarTalk Playing with Science on its own channels on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. Please head over to your favorite podcast platform and subscribe now. And don’t forget to tell your friends about our new show, too.

We begin our first season next Wednesday on February 1 with a show about – c’mon, what else could it be about but the big game coming up that Sunday?

Chuck and Gary welcome Super Bowl champion players Osi Umenyiora of the NY Giants and Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with a few astrophysicists who happen to host our other shows: Charles Liu of StarTalk All-Stars and Neil deGrasse Tyson of…the universe.

Don’t forget to subscribe and tell some friends about next Wednesday’s premiere, February 1 at 7pm ET.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons