Plunge Into the Science of BASE Jumping

BASE jumping, a relative of skydiving, stands for the objects the practitioners of the sport jump from: buildings, antennas, spans, earth. Wingsuits are sometimes involved; parachutes, always. Luke Hively, who has racked up 2500 skydives and more than 150 BASE jumps, wondered about the physics of wingsuits. Physicists Leif Ristroph and David Hu weigh in. We wondered about the brain science of jumping off cliffs, and asked neuroscientist Chess Stetson about why time seems to slow down when we’re scared.


Footage courtesy of Luke Hively, music: Broke for Free/Swimming, Free Music Archive; additional images: wikimedia

Meet the Producer

About Flora Lichtman

Flora Lichtman was the host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.