Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scottish Family's 800-Year-Old Curse Finally Lifted

Assuming the curse reads something like, 'you and your descendants will suffer until water is tied in a knot'.

Because that's what scientists at the University of Chicago have managed to do. You ever make a water tornado in a soda bottle? That's about how a vortex is understood to work: single one, straight line, pretty stable. If you do it right, though, not necessarily. When a vortex breaks up, it can start going squirrely, flailing, colliding with itself perhaps, losing some connections in the chain and making new ones. (See also: your water tornado with a particularly thin vortex starting to do a bellydance.) So after about 30 attempts at making a proper hydrofoil, and one of those newfangled 3-D printers, the team managed to make a knot, which you can see in a video here. Bubbles make it so you can actually see what's going on.

This does have a larger purpose- they're hoping to put this towards better understanding plasmas and superfluids and various physics issues- but if I don't get to drive my car on a highway made of water, this has all gone to waste in my book.

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