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  • Sticky

  • The Secret Science of Surfaces
  • By: Laurie Winkless
  • Narrated by: Laurie Winkless
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Sticky cover art

Sticky

By: Laurie Winkless
Narrated by: Laurie Winkless
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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Sticky by Laurie Winkless, read by Laurie Winkless.

You are surrounded by stickiness. With every step you take, air molecules cling to you and slow you down; the effect is harder to ignore in water. When you hit the road, whether powered by pedal or engine, you rely on grip to keep you safe. The Post-it note and glue in your desk drawer. The non-stick pan on your stove. The fingerprints linked to your identity. The rumbling of the earth deep beneath your feet and the ice that transforms waterways each winter. All of these things are controlled by tiny forces that operate on and between surfaces, with friction playing the leading role.

In Sticky, Laurie Winkless explores some of the ways that friction shapes both the manufactured and natural worlds and describes how our understanding of surface science has given us an ability to manipulate stickiness, down to the level of a single atom. But this apparent success doesn’t tell the whole story. Each time humanity has pushed the boundaries of science and engineering, we’ve discovered that friction still has a few surprises up its sleeve.

So do we really understand this force? Can we say with certainty that we know how a gecko climbs, what’s behind our sense of touch, or why golf balls, boats and aircraft move as they do? Join Laurie as she seeks out the answers from experts scattered across the globe, uncovering a stack of scientific mysteries along the way.

©2021 Laurie Winkless (P)2021 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"I am in awe of Laurie Winkless: of her ability to take something as seemingly plain as a tire, as overlooked as the dimples on a golf ball and produce from it a surprising, fascinating narrative, one that effortlessly reveals the astonishing science of the world around us." (Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Fuzz)

"A beautifully-written, utterly fascinating book that had me glued throughout. Like the very best science writing, Sticky helps you see the world from a different perspective. I couldn't recommend it more." (Angela Saini, science journalist and author)

"If you’ve ever wondered why some glues work better than others, or been puzzled why there are so many different types of car tire, or been amazed at the ease in which a gecko can run up the wall, then this wonderful book is for you." (Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters)

What listeners say about Sticky

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Jam packed full of fascinating science

This is such a great book and the author’s (very easy to listen to) voice really brings all the fascinating science to life. She explains, in a very clear way, the importance of stickiness in areas that I’d never even thought about.
I had so many “wow, I’d never thought of that” moments while listening to this book

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At last, Laurie Winkless in audiobook form!

Laurie Winkless is the perfect companion on this journey of curiosity. Her infectious enthusiasm for her subject matter shines through in her carefully chosen words and her amiable narration. Never afraid to tackle topics that must be daunting to explain, Winkless has a gift for communicating science and engineering engagingly, without dumbing it down. I have gained a new appreciation for geckos, cricket balls, paints and Olympic swimsuits among many other unexpected subjects. I am left wondering how the science of surfaces will develop in the years to come and hoping for a follow up. Take note, John Lloyd, Winkless could fill your "Museum of Curiosity" with the contents of this book alone.

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  • Peter
  • 20-09-22

Fantastic friction and stupendously slippery

Such a wonderfully told tale of how brakes work, tires grip and glaciers side. All easily digestible for folks like me. So cool!

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  • James
  • 13-04-22

Lots of Interesting Cases

I saw the author interviewed by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and had to check out this book. I learned that what I thought I knew about how ice skates work (by increasing pressure to decrease the melting temperature) was mostly wrong. Also fascinating to learn that there are still so many mysteries around simple things, like nobody is 100% sure what makes a curling stone move the way it does.

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  • Sean M
  • 22-03-22

excellent!

Loved it, and the author was an excellent narrator as well. The topic was covered with both breadth and depth.