CrowdScience listener David was playing snooker in Thailand when he started thinking how such a smooth ball was dependent on the rough green baize of the table to bring it to a stop. Would it be possible to play snooker at all in a completely frictionless universe?
Sometimes friction produces heat. Could we ever control it completely?
We try to reduce friction in some cases by using lubricants, whilst at other times like braking at a traffic junction we depend upon friction entirely. Anand Jagatia heads to Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, to meet some true masters of this mysterious entity: players of the winter sport Curling. What exactly is friction, and does thinking about it tell us something deeper about the universe?
Jennifer Dodds, Team GB Olympic Gold medallist
Dave Lieth, Head of performance services, British Curling
Susan Perkin, Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Oxford
Roger Lewis, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield
Presented by Anand Jagatia
Produced by Alex Mansfield
With thanks to David for his question.
[Image: curling. Credit: Getty Images]
Philosophers have long pondered the concept of a brain in a jar, hooked up to a simulated world. Though this has largely remained a thought experiment, CrowdScience listener JP wants to know if it might become reality in the not-too-distant future, with advances in stem cell research.
In the two...
Everyone has fears – but what makes a fear become a phobia? Why are some people scared of spiders (arachnophobia), buttons (koumpounophobia), or the colour yellow (xanthophobia)? Or why are others are scared of situations, like small spaces (claustrophobia), empty rooms (kenophobia) or heights...