Being intrigued by little observations in my everyday life has made the world into such a playground. At the Exploratorium, the way this quality of mine is not only embraced but encouraged has helped my curiosity grow to new extents. It’s the artist in me whose eye is caught by whatever I come across. It then wakes up the engineer in me as I start to analyze what exactly it is that I'm looking at. After the interaction, I always walk away with some beautiful photos, maybe some art ideas, new knowledge about how something might work/behave, and some questions about certain things I couldn't explain. As of recently, I’ve been very fascinated by water and the math that makes it behave in the beautiful ways it does. I’ve gathered together a small collection of photos and videos that otherwise would’ve stayed buried in my phone but now thanks to the spirit of the Exploratorium have value as a collection for other curious and fascinated minds to enjoy. That being said, I encourage discussion and would love to hear your thoughts on what you see! Even if it's a mere appreciation of nature.
I had sparked up a match to turn on my stovetop and when I went to turn it off under the faucet, I immediately noticed some ripples in the stream as a result of the match head. If you look closely at the video, you can see that as the match gets closer to the source of water, the ripples decrease in quantity but increase in size. I took this to the Exploratorium and experimented with some other shapes. I only tested a handful of shapes but the only way I was able to replicate the ripple effect was with a sculpting blade tool. The blade was vertical (parallel to the water flow) and turning it at an angle didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Also, note that the ripples aren’t the same size as the ones the match had created. I'm not exactly sure if this is due to the tool, variables in the stream, or both. I did also get some pretty fun shapes using other tools such as the one in this video. It looks like there's an outlining stream that creates the general shape of the laminar flow and the water within it just coalesces to create that glass sheet look.
Next is one of my favorite things to look out for on a rainy day. When there’s a puddle of water and there are raindrops falling on it, the drops cause waves in the body of water. When the timing is right and everything lines up, other water drops fall into the valleys of the waves and ride them until the pattern is interrupted. It ends up looking like beads running across the water. This can be seen in your shower, your sink, but it’s most fun to find it happening on really cool surfaces on rainy days. Here is a video by Destin Sandlin, an engineer and youtuber that not enough people at the Exploratorium know about who makes super interesting and comprehensible videos about science. He made a video just on these water beads and does an amazing job of helping you see what’s going on while explaining the math in an intriguing way. Also the enthusiasm in his voice makes it a hundred times better.
This last one is slightly unrelated but nonetheless lovely to watch. I was letting hand soap drip from one container to another and was mesmerized by the way the bubbles form. If you look closely to when the soap stream flops onto the surface, there’s a crack of air that then develops into a bubble. I also love the chaos of the coiling when the soap comes down in different amounts. Destin, also known as Smarter Everyday, has a whole video on why honey drips the way it does and dives into the science of viscosities. My words do him no justice so I highly recommend just checking him out.
Now that I have even more of a reason to look like a weirdo on the street taking closeups of stuff, I hope to be writing up more of these blog posts. Thank you.