Science of the Winter Olympics

The time has come once again, and we find ourselves coming upon the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The Olympics have long been associated with fierce competition, emotional stories of victory and loss, and tales of international diplomacy and sportsmanship. Yet an all-too-often overlooked aspect of the Olympic Games is the amount of science, technology, engineering, and math required to make the games a success.

But fear not, the day has come for the science of the Olympic Games to step out of the shadows and into the public eye. Thanks to NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation, science lovers and yet-to-be-lovers alike can feast their eyes on a 16-part video series highlighting the different ways in which science contributed to this world-class event. From the science of skis to aerial physics, this initiative brings the games to life in a way that has never before been seen.

ski engineersAs the state of STEM education in the United States continues to be dire, efforts like these are increasingly important to raising the profile of the sciences. Many students are unaware of the vast amount of professions within the STEM fields, and many others are searching for careers that blend their personal acumen with their passions. Sports are arguably one of the most high-profile fields in American culture, and the connection between sports and the sciences are much greater than many people realize. Our STEM-Works team had this realization during our Cool Jobs initiative when interviewing professionals like Ski Engineers Harrison Goldberg and Connor Gaeta and Athletic Trainer Riana Pryor. Now, thanks to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, many more students will have the opportunity to make this connection as well.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch this 16-part video series, you can view the entire series on YouTube.