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OU on the BBC: Science Shack - How high can you jump?

Updated Monday, 12th June 2006

Adam Hart-Davis and the team investigate whether you can fly like a bird, as part of the BBC/OU's Science Shack series.

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flying seesaw Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

backwards somersault Adam and the team take the Shack to the Commonwealth Games Stadium in Manchester, for a record-breaking challenge. The team must design a jumping aid that will enable someone to clear the Shack – which means jumping higher than the current world high jump record. In the spirit of the real sport, the jump must be human powered and the mechanism must go over the Shack with the person – so no cannons!

Adam takes a look at the biomechanics of jumping and some ways in which we’ve enhanced our ability – from gymnastics and the Fosbury Flop, to spring-loaded boots. He gets up close with some of the best jumpers in the animal kingdom – looking at grasshoppers’ knees to see how those muscles really work.

The Grand Finale sees a member of the Science Shack team, equipped with their jumping aid, competing against a Commonwealth gymnastics champion and a spring loaded trampolinist in a Shack-Jumping competition.

Web links

Grasshopper Jumping
Find out more about the mechanics of Grasshopper jumping.

Jumping Records
This site contains information about all of the world and Olympic jumping records.

The BBC and the Open University are not responsible for the content of external websites.

First broadcast: Friday 2 Nov 2001 on BBC TWO





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