Michio Kaku quoted Albert Einstein, saying, “If a theory can’t be explained to a child, it’s probably worthless.” My job as a writer for children is to explain science ideas in a way they understand. Having just turned in my latest children’s book to Rourke Publishing, Kaku’s comments about Newton and spinning on the ice made a lot of sense to me.
An apple a day keeps the ice skaters at play
The book is for grades 4—6 and titled “Forces and Motion at Work.” And I’ve always been fascinated by ice skating.
I enjoyed learning about Sir Isaac Newton during my research for the book. I don’t know theoretical physics much at all, but the idea of putting together the science of Newton and ice skating spins into physical science sounded like great fun.
So what would we call ice skating spins if Sir Newton were to have been a skater? Here’s what I think.
Apple drop spin—skater looks up and then down, sinking to the ice in a sit-spin wearing a puzzled look.
Newton-Hooke pairs attitude spin—two skaters spin in contradictory styles.
Alchemical backspin—skater completes a series of spins, moving backwards across the ice.
The Plague death drop-spin—skater leaps into the air, as if to escape contagious germs, and then sits in a safety spin.
“Principia” spin—the spin with a tendency to never return stop spinning.