The National Science Foundation (NSF), NBC Learn (which is the educational arm of NBC News) and NBC Olympics have teamed up for a series of videos that will feature top athletes and engineers explaining the important role that engineering, technology and science play in the Olympic Games.
The 10 videos in the series are being offered to NBC affiliate stations and will be available for free on the Web. The National Science Teachers Association has produced engineering-focused lesson plans for middle- and high-school teachers that will accompany the video.
The series, which is called Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports, continues a partnership between NSF and NBC for Science of... videos. That partnership had previously produced such videos as Science of the Winter Olympics, Science of NFL Football, Science of NHL Hockey and Science Behind the News.
"The work of engineers not only affects Olympic sports -- it also helps us perform ordinary activities in better ways," said Thomas Peterson, NSF assistant director for engineering in a statement. "This series will illustrate how engineers can impact both sports and society, and we hope it will inspire young people to pursue engineering."
The series is narrated by NBC Sports Group's Liam McHugh. Each segment features a top athlete talking about their sports experiences as well as leading engineers explaining the technologies that aid the athletes and the mechanics involved.
The wide variety of topics covered include segments on how Missy Franklin uses specially engineered pools to help her cuts through water faster and how a stereoscopic camera system helps Olympic champion decathlete Bryan Clay improve his long jump.
Featured athletes include swimmer Missy Franklin, boxer Queen Underwood, weightlifter Sarah Robles, decathlete Bryan Clay, and runners Jenny Simpson, Oscar Pistorius and Usain Bolt.