Everyone likes to play carom. I’m sure you know how to play as well. There are nine white pieces, nine black pieces and one red piece all of the same size. There is a striker that is usually slightly bigger than all the pieces. The striker is used to hit the pieces into the pockets located at the corners of the board. The winner is chosen depending on the number of goals made by each player. If you notice the speed of the striker when you hit it, and the speed of the smaller piece after it is struck, you’ll see that it moves with a higher speed than the initial speed of the striker. Why do you think this happens?

Every now and then when the smaller pieces are hit too hard, you’ll see that it bumps into the side of the board and then bounces back. Can you figure out which one of Newton’s laws of motion best explains this situation? During carom, sometimes it’s hard to get the pieces to move easily around the board. To fix this, boric acid or something powder-like can be used. But what makes this problem arise? And why does boric acid help prevent it?

Wait a second—does this remind you of another one of Newton’s Laws? Which one does it remind you of?