Science & Technology

USU's Science Unwrapped Rides the 'Coriolis Carousel' Friday, Jan. 19

USU physicist Boyd Edwards and USU computer scientist John Edwards are featured presenters for free, family-friendly event focused on rotational forces.

By Mary-Ann Muffoletto |

In his 1994 hit single, “Third Rock from the Sun,” country musician Joe Diffie suggests that, for inhabitants of Earth, “All of the chaos makes perfect sense (because) when you’re spinnin’ round, things come undone.”

Utah State University physicist Boyd Edwards concedes things “get weird,” when you’re rotating, but where do these “weird” forces come from? He and USU computer scientist John Edwards team up as featured speakers for USU’s Science Unwrapped public outreach program Friday, Jan. 19 to help us understand these phenomena. The brothers present “Rotational Forces: Riding the Coriolis Carousel” at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium, Room ESLC 130, of the Eccles Science Learning Center.

Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

“French scientist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis described the two forces that are experienced in rotating frames of reference in 1835,” says Boyd, professor in USU’s Department of Physics. “The first is the centrifugal force, which pulls you away from the center of rotation, and the second is the Coriolis force, which pulls you sideways.”

Boyd and John, faculty member in USU’s Department of Computer Science, will use a four-person rotating platform they’ve built themselves, dubbed the “USU Coriolis Carousel,” to demonstrate these forces.

“Attendees at Science Unwrapped can experience these forces for themselves by riding the USU Coriolis Carousel,” John says. “It will be an active, fun and spinning approach to science.”

Hands-on learning activities led by USU student groups and community volunteers, along with refreshments, follow the Edwards brothers’ presentation. The talk will also be recorded and posted on the Science Unwrapped website within a week of the in-person event.

Directions and parking information are available on the program’s website.

The Edwards Brothers’ talk is the fourth presentation in Science Unwrapped’s 2023-24 “Building on Basics” series, which explores varied scientific principles, with exciting examples and illustrations from diverse disciplines.

“This year’s approach is to examine basic scientific principles and how they fit into varied scientific disciplines,” says Brynja Kohler, Science Unwrapped chair, associate dean in the College of Science and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “We have a wonderful group of scientists lined up to speak at this year’s events, and it will be fun to hear their different perspectives.”

Established in 2009, Science Unwrapped is hosted by USU’s College of Science.

For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit the Science Unwrapped website or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ Facebook page.

Computer scientist John Edwards, standing, and physicist Boyd Edwards, seated, are featured speakers at the Jan. 19 Science Unwrapped presentation, "Rotational Forces: Riding the Coriolis Carousel," at 7 p.m. in ESLC 130. (Photo Credit: USU/MMuffoletto)

Using a carousel they've built themselves, Science Unwrapped presenters Boyd and John Edwards will demonstrate rotational forces Friday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Science Learning Center. All are welcome to this free event.


Mary-Ann Muffoletto
Public Relations Specialist
College of Science


Brynja Kohler
Science Unwrapped Chair; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Services
College of Science


STEM 143stories Physics 98stories

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