Physicists finally worked out why ice is slippery after 150 years

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Ice must be not too warm and not too cold to be perfectly slippery

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A problem that has been slipping through physicists’ fingers for the past 150 years is finally nearing an answer. It has long been a mystery why ice is slippery, and it seems to be mostly governed by water molecules bouncing around in the topmost layer of the ice.

To try to illuminate which properties of the ice and the slider are key to slipperiness, Rinse Liefferink at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and his colleagues performed a series of experiments using …