Storyblock’s image of a goalkeeper diving to make a save.
Storyblock’s image of a goalkeeper diving to make a save.

An Exercise in Physics

Credit: Storyblocks.
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About This Episode

What would a quantum stadium look like? Can you race Formula 1 on Mars? How do physics make a soccer ball curve? On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice, and astrophysicist Charles Liu are answering fan-submitted Cosmic Queries covering the physics of sports.

To start, we ponder if any sports of the future can take advantage of wave-particle duality. Charles and Neil investigate what a sports stadium on the quantum level would look like. This leads us to wonder if quidditch takes place in the quantum realm. Is the golden snitch entangled? Or, is it sentient? We also explore quantum chess.

You’ll learn about baseball physics. We investigate if a particular body-type gives you an advantage on the diamond. How would you adapt Formula 1 cars to be able to race on Mars? Neil shares an idea of having NASA-sponsored races featuring rocket engines. The rest of the crew quickly make him realize the issues that might occur when you strap a rocket engine to the back of a car on a grand prix track.

We dive into the physics of throwing a curveball and kicking a free kick. Gary tells us about the physics behind Roberto Carlos’ famous free kick in 1997.You’ll also learn why soccer players put the inflating valve of the ball where they plan to strike the ball. Charles elaborates on the physics of a curveball.

Find out more about Dom-jot, the billiards-style game played on Star Trek: The Next Generation. We debate if injecting science into sports can ruin the fun. All that, plus, we explore the science of hockey skates, the forces of surfing, and whether a higher mass can help you ski faster.

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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