Technology

The Unbelievable Physics of Simone Biles’ Yurchenko Double Pike

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Gymnastics is an extraordinarily troublesome sport, and never simply excessive for Olympic athletes like five-time (thus far) medalist Simone Biles. The physics can be fairly difficult. Let’s take into account one thing seemingly easy, like a flip.

There might be some model of a flip in all 4 of the ladies’s gymnastics occasions: ground, bars, vault, and beam. It’s one of many two sorts of rotations a gymnast could make midair. In physics phrases, a flip is a head-to-foot rotation about an imaginary axis that runs by the gymnast’s hips. For the second kind of rotation, a twist, think about an axis that runs from their head to their toes.

Perhaps it is simpler simply to see them. These two animations had been created in Python. (You may see the code right here and right here.)

Trinket through Rhett Allain
Trinket through Rhett Allain

A gymnast can truly carry out each of some of these rotation on the similar time—that is what makes the game so attention-grabbing to observe. In physics, we might name any such motion a “inflexible physique rotation.” However, clearly, people aren’t inflexible, so the arithmetic to explain rotations like this may be fairly difficult. For the sake of brevity, let’s restrict our dialogue simply to flips.

There are three sorts of flips. There’s a format, during which the gymnast retains their physique in a straight place. There’s a pike, during which they bend at a couple of 90-degree angle on the hips. Lastly, there’s a tuck, with the knees pulled up in direction of the chest.

What is the distinction, by way of physics?

Rotations and the Second of Inertia

If you wish to perceive the physics of a rotation, that you must take into account the second of inertia. I do know that is a strange-sounding time period. Let’s begin with an instance involving boats. (Sure, boats.)

Suppose you’re standing on a dock subsequent to a small boat that’s simply floating there, and isn’t tied up. For those who put your foot onto the boat and push it, what occurs? Sure, the boat strikes away—but it surely does one thing else. The boat additionally hastens because it strikes away. This variation in pace is an acceleration.

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