January 11, 2022

EP. 247 — Can Figure Skaters Defy Gravity? with Dr. Deborah King

What happens when you add JVN to E = mc²? You get an episode of Getting Curious all about physics, explored through one of Jonathan’s favorite topics: figure skating! This week, Dr. Deborah King joins Jonathan to break down the biomechanics behind skating techniques, the cutting edge technology she’s using to research ice sports, and how we can watch the winter Olympics like scientists.


Dr. Deborah King is a professor of biomechanics in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at Ithaca College. She began her work with figure skating in 1993 while with the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Performance Division and has continued to work with the sport for the last 21 years.


Her work in skating has included studying the biomechanics of figure skating jumps, focusing on 3D kinematics of national and internal level figure skaters, studying injury demographics in competitive and non-competitive skaters, and developing an instrumented blade to study impact forces in figure skating.

Find out what today’s guest and former guests are up to by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN.

Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Dr. Deborah King JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Deborah King, where I ask her: What’s the physics of ice skating? Welcome to Getting Curious, this is Jonathan Van Ness, we have such an exciting episode for you today. Deborah King is a professor and the grad chair of exercise science and athletic training at Ithaca College. She specializes in the biomechanics of sport performance with a focus on, drumroll please: competitive figure skating! This is such a major episode. I think anyone that listens to this podcast knows that I’m, like, almost medically, compulsively diagnosed with figure skating obsession, so you’re the perfect person to ask, Deborah King: what is the physics of figure skating? And first of all, how are you?   DEBOR

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