Hidden Science archive

Hidden Science was a mobile phone action – found within the Orange ‘Do Some Good’ app between April 2011-July 2012. Users were asked to submit their burning science questions via the app to have them answered directly by scientists, with all answers posted onto the Future Morph website.

Submitted questions had to related to one of the 16 different themes which included Space, Food, Sport, Medical Science, Earth Science, Computers & IT, Fashion & Textiles, and more!

A selection of the questions submitted to Leisure & Lifestyle theme are shown below.

With our increasingly busy day to day lives, our leisure time is so important to give us time to relax, unwind or to perhaps try out the latest hobby or sporting craze. So what do you enjoy? From surfing to hot air ballooning if you are an adrenalin junkie, to buying the latest killer heels or beating your friends at your favourite computer games – science is behind all of these things, and scientists and mathematicians can find jobs in all of these areas.

Have a look at some of the questions below and find out what our scientists have been working on recently, and who knows – maybe one day soon you will be able to combine your work and leisure time working on a project that you love!

1. Would an Olympic runner beat a car in a 100m race?

Assuming that a world class 100m sprinter will cover 100m in under 10s – let’s say about 9.8 seconds, then if we compare that to a high performance sports car, and a lot of them will quote 0-60mph in under 4s – so they will beat the sprinter easily. A mid performance car – such as a Ford Mondeo – if we look at figures from the Parkers guide (www.parkers.co.uk) then they show that some 2.0l LX models for petrol and diesel will do 0-60mph in c. 9.5 or 9.6 seconds – so they will beat the athlete with ease.

So I think most cars will beat even the best athletes – although there will be some cars that couldn’t – but it may be harder to locate which they are – or where the break point is – as the athlete reaches top speed earlier – and will beat the car to maybe 10mph – but then the car will keep accelerating when the athlete is not accelerating as fast.

Also the track surface will make a huge difference – the car needs to be on a grippy road surface – but put both on e.g. wet sand, and I think my money would swap to the athlete as they will be able to get more grip, and will have less pressure than the car.

2. How deep is the world’s deepest swimming pool?

The world’s deepest swimming pool is Nemo 33 in Brussels in Belgium, with a maximum depth of 34.5 metres. It is used to train divers and for film production.

3. If you have a lorry full of birds and the birds take flight inside it, will the overall weight become lighter?

The overall weight stays the same because the amount of matter is the same when the birds are in flight.

A weigh-bridge would register the same weight too because the down-draft from the bird’s wings exerts a force on the bottom of the lorry which is equal to the weight of the birds.

4. Is classical music good for the brain?

I understand that an improvement in logical thinking can be observed while classical music is being played. I don’t know of any significant long term effects, although mental stimulation (thinking and mental puzzles) is known to be good for the brain.

5. How can vegetarians stay as healthy as meat-eaters?

I have heard vegetarians argue that they are healthier than meat-eaters! One problem that vegetarians can have is that they lack iron, and if vegan, sometimes calcium too. This can be helped by eating pulses (lentils and split peas etc.). The cabbage family and cress are also excellent sources of iron because the vitamin C which is also present helps the body to absorb the iron.

I once read a comment by someone that knew what they were talking about that to stay healthy, a person should: “Eat ‘real’ food; not too much, mostly plants.”

6. What is the best way to detox?

As I understand it, the benefits of detoxing are a subject of medical debate.

But people that detox generally cut out all meat, dairy and gluten products from their diet for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. It can be hard ensuring that a balanced diet is maintained without these elements. Eating bee pollen and drinking Aloe Vera juice helps.