February 13, 2018 9:22 pm

Wednesday, Slide Down the Ice with Gary O’Reilly, Chuck Nice, and Olympic Curlers Nina Roth and Brad Gushue

This week on Playing with Science, Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice are slipping and sliding into the Olympic sport that, surprisingly, keeps getting more and more popular: curling.

Otherwise known as “Chess on Ice,” this sport is one of the most hypnotic, fascinating sports to watch during the Winter Olympics and you had best believe there are some major physics at work.

Photo of the US Men's Curling team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, taken by Feddar (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Shown: The US Men’s Curling team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Credit: Feddar (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Chuck and Gary welcome a slew of guests to this episode, starting off with Dean Gemmell, 2012 Men’s National Champion and author of Fit to Curl and Brush Like a Badass. Dean gives us an overview of curling as a sport, gets into the intricacies of sweeping – including discussion on a major brush controversy in 2015 – and goes through a Lightning Round of curling terms with Chuck to make us more fluent in the language of curling.

After that, physicist John Eric Goff is back on Playing with Science to break down the science of the sport: how the ice impacts the stones, the “drag effect,” and how there’s still mystery surrounding why a stone curls in the first place.

Following that, we hear from people who’ve competed on the highest level. First up, 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist Brad Gushue weighs in on what first got him into curling, the anatomy of the “push-off,” and how everyone in the sport is always learning something new.

Lastly, you’ll hear from Nina Roth, 2018 Olympic curler for Team USA, as she tells Chuck and Gary how she got into the sport, how she modifies her game depending on the venue, and how she physically and mentally prepares herself to compete in the Olympics.

Please join us tomorrow night for The Science of Curling, with Olympians Brad Gushue & Nina Roth at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too. (Warning: Adult Language)

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