FEB 14, 2018 12:30 PM PST

Curling and physics in the Olympics


Curling is somewhat of a mystifying sport to some of us - how really do you play and are there any rules? Let's take a closer look and learn about the physics involved in this unique sport that you may see gracing your television screen during the next couple of Olympic weeks.

To start, let's not diminish the skill involved in throwing a 42-pound granite stone down an ice rink almost 100 feet long and trying to get it to stop at just the right point on a target. In fact, this sport requires several key techniques, which curlers call the ABCs - alignment, balance, and curl. But the geometry and physics behind the throwing of the stone aren't necessarily what catches your eye when you're glued to the TV; it's the sweeping-type motions.

Mike Greenberg of the San Francisco Curling Club explains that what makes curling special is that it's the only sport where you can affect the trajectory of a thrown object after it has been thrown. How do you do it? With those sweeping motions and the fancy looking brooms! Which in fact are not actually brooms at all (oops, my bad), but brushes which players can use to put pressure on the ice and essentially warm it up to a small degree, which can, in turn, help the stone move straighter and up to 10 feet more than it would have otherwise gone. Sound like a sport you want to try? Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JAN 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 02, 2020
Mushroom Chemistry: Pick Your Poison, or Not
Consuming wild mushrooms is largely frowned upon because it can lead to food poisoning. Its consequence ranges from vomiting and diarrhea to death within d...
JAN 09, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 09, 2020
Australian Bushfire Update
Devastating wildfires continue to ravage the continent of Australia. The report from BBC News below, which aired earlier this week, gives an encompassing u...
JAN 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 19, 2020
Flying Foxes Must be Careful of Crocodiles When Hydrating
Flying foxes absolutely despise the Sun, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they look for shade whenever possible. One pro...
JAN 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 20, 2020
Horned Lizards Do Anything to Protect Their Eggs From Predators
When a female horned lizard lays her eggs, she finds herself up against several predators that want to devour them. Fortunately, the female horned lizard d...
FEB 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 10, 2020
Learn How NASA Suppresses the Loud Sounds of a Rocket Launch
When a large chemical rocket’s engines ignite, they produce thousands, if not millions, of pounds of thrust. This much power is necessary to loft the...
FEB 13, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 13, 2020
What is Antimatter, the "Most Expensive" Substance on Earth?
Scientists have long theorized that our world shouldn't have existed, because the equal amount of matter and antimatter created during the toddlerhood...
Loading Comments...