The magic (and math) of skating on thin ice without falling in

Very interesting video. Do try to imagine the sound of the ice and check out the video to confirm your guess. Very surprising sound! It is a pity that not many countries have such ice to skate in.

The main mathematical principle is Archimedes’ Principle:

Congelation ice, while a solid form of water, does bend slightly and acts like an elastic plate buoyed by the water below. To Anje, it’s Archimedes buoyancy principle in action.

“A body partially immersed in water is buoyed by a force equal to the weight of the water displaced by the body,” he said.


Stepping onto an inch-and-a-half thick piece of lake ice — much less doing laps on it — is a no-go for most people. But for experienced Swedish skaters Henrik Trygg and Mårten Anje, few things top skating on thin ice.

In December, still photographer Trygg filmed Anje skating on 1.8 inches of fresh ice on a lake outside Stockholm. The resulting mini-documentary— filled with the eerie, laser-like sounds of bending ice — went viral in February.

One shot shows the ice, commonly called “black ice,” visibly bending under the skater’s weight. Which raised the question: Why doesn’t this thin frozen surface break?

For the answer, we turned to Anje, a 35-year veteran of nordic skating whose day job is calculating risk. He is a mathematician and actuary at a consulting firm.


Author: mathtuition88

Math and Education Blog

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