Physics will be at play in every shot, check and goal of the attendance record-setting Big Chill at the Big House hockey match between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University on Dec. 11.

In a game-day public lecture packed with demonstrations, chair of the Physics Department and recreational hockey player Brad Orr will discuss some of the science behind the world’s fastest sport. Physics lecturer Dave Winn will also take part.

Among the intricacies:

* Why ice is slippery: It’s not because the skate blade melts it, as was thought for many years.
* The forces players experience when they’re checked (more than 10 times gravity!), and how and why padding protects.
* How a hockey stick delivers power to the puck: It actually bends like a bow-and-arrow.
See the physics instructors shoot pucks with crossbows, pour boiling liquid nitrogen and use eggs as crash-test dummies in the preview video and in person at their talk, “We Own Frictionless Surfaces: The Physics of Hockey.” The talk is at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 in rooms 170 and 182 of the Dennison Building at 500 Church St. in Ann Arbor. There’s a map at

Following the talk, at 3 p.m. the Department of Physics will be screening the sold-out Big Chill game from Michigan Stadium in the same room. The game is virtually certain to set a new NCAA college hockey attendance record.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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