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National Science Foundation

Science of the Olympic Winter Games: About the Series

Home | About Science of the Olympic Winter Games | More Special Reports
Photo of ice skater, words Science of the Winter Olympic Games, and logos of NBC Learn, NSF and Vancover Olympics

NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, has teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to produce Science of the Olympic Winter Games, a 16-part video series that explores the science behind individual Olympic events, including Downhill and Aerial Skiing, Speed Skating and Figure Skating, Curling and Hockey, and Ski Jumping, Bobsledding and Snowboarding.

In each piece in the series, which is narrated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt, NSF-funded scientists explain selected laws of physics and principles of chemistry, biomechanics and physiology; Olympic athletes and hopefuls Rachael Flatt, Julie Chu, J.R. Celski, John Shuster and others describe how these principles apply to their respective sports. The science is broken down by capturing the athletes' movements with a state-of-the-art, high-speed camera called the Phantom Cam, which has the astonishing ability to capture movement at rates of up to 1500 frames per second. This allows frame-by-frame illustrations of Newton's Three Laws of Motion, the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, friction, drag, speed, velocity, and other scientific concepts.

This groundbreaking project between NSF and NBC Learn uses the global spotlight of the Olympics to make science more accessible and more interesting to students, by showing how science helps athletes fulfill the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius--Swifter, Higher, Stronger.


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