February 26, 2019 9:30 pm

Wednesday, Chuck, Gary, and Neil deGrasse Tyson Wrestle with Physics

Wrestling. No, not WWE where you watch a high-flying Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battle it out against 5 other people in a sport-spectacle mash-up in front of 30,000 fans. We’re talking about wrestling wrestling. That sport some of your friends in high school did, or, the sport you catch glimpses of during the Olympics and say to yourself, “That looks quite difficult.” Well, as it turns out, it is quite difficult and scientifically rich. And about which, it also turns out, your  personal astrophysicist is an expert.

Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson when he was the captain of his high school wrestling team. ©Tyson Archives.

©Tyson Archives.

On this week’s episode of Playing with Science, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice sit down with the one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson to answer fan-submitted questions about wrestling. Neil taps his knowledge of physics crossed with his experience as a wrestler in high school and college to bring the science down to the mat.

Before we get to wrestling, per usual when Neil, Chuck, and Gary get together, Neil gives us some musings on other sports including skiing, racing, and the cosmic connection connected to the invention of AstroTurf.

This leads right into a discussion on the evolution of the wrestling mat. Find out why you don’t want the mat to be too comfortable. You’ll explore what wrestling might be like in zero gravity. We ponder the idea of a “cage match” in zero gravity where there are mats on all sides. You’ll discover more about the challenges of wrestling on the Moon.

Neil gives us a break down of how points work in a wrestling match. Find out more about Greco Roman wrestling. We discuss the importance of leverage. Neil also shares his favorite move, and his idea for a move called “The Double Tidal Lock” and its cosmic inspiration. Neil also picks where he would want to see a wrestling match if he could hold it anywhere in the universe. The answer is closer to home than you may think.

You’ll also hear why some people say certain weight classes in wrestling are more exciting to watch than others. You’ll learn about the new developments in women’s wrestling. All that, plus, find out what’s the most energy efficient wrestling move you can learn on your own.

Please join us tomorrow night for Wrestling with Physics, with Neil deGrasse Tyson right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen