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The Physics Behind Curling

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As I looked into other Olympic winter sports for my third edition of physics in winter, I thought I might explore the physics behind curling a little but more in depth. At first when you consider curling, you automatically think of friction and how that plays a large role in where the stones land during competition. I also thought about conservation of momentum because when the stones knock into one another, it is pretty clear to see that momentum is conserved when one block moving with some initial speed immediately stops after hitting another stone that was initially at rest. However, there is an entire other layer of physics behind the sport of curling when you consider the rotation that is involved. I found this video that goes into depth about the unique movement of the stones in curling when they start to spin on the ice.

I like the idea that its not always the most athletic team that wins in sports but sometimes its the physical manipulation of objects that allows more intelligent teams to win. This goes well with the information I've collected in other blog posts about how the physics behind sports can help athletes perform on a higher level. As he said, it's true that countries like Sweden that have scientists researching the physics of curling most often have Olympic athletes on the podium for curling. Whoever said that brains can't beat brawn in an athletic competition clearly never took a physics class. 

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