The physics of Olympic sports, searching for continuous gravitational waves


Have you ever wondered why some long-jumpers cycle their legs in the air after take-off, why the 400 m race can have no more than nine lanes, or what’s the optimal stride length that athletes should aim for between hurdles? With the Tokyo Olympics beginning this week, our reviews and careers editor Laura Hiscott has put together a physics-related quiz based on the 10 different events in the decathlon. In this episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast, Laura quizzes Physics World’s Matin Durrani to find out what he can tell us about the physics of Olympic sports.

Also this week, we talk with three astrophysicists from OzGrav, the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. They are part of a team using the LIGO and Virgo interferometric detectors to look for continuous gravitational waves from neutron stars.

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