The Taming of The Finest Bubbles

The Taming of The Finest Bubbles

An initial burst of effervescence occurs when the Champagne contacts the dry glass on pouring. These bubbles form on imperfections in the glass that facilitate nucleation or, to a lesser extent, on cellulose fibres left over from the wiping/drying process as shown with a high-speed video camera. However, after the initial rush, these naturally occurring imperfections are typically too small to consistently act as nucleation points as the surface tension of the liquid smooths out these minute irregularities. The nucleation sites that act as a source for the ongoing effervescence are not natural imperfections in the glass, but actually occur where the glass has been etched by the manufacturer or the customer. This etching is typically done with acid, a laser, or a glass etching tool from a craft shop to provide nucleation sites for continuous bubble formation (note that not all glasses are etched in this way). In 1662 this method was developed in England, as records from the Royal Society show. Dom Pérignon was originally charged by his superiors at the Abbey of Hautvillers to get rid of the bubbles since the pressure in the bottles caused many of them to burst in the cellar. As sparkling wine production increased in the early 18th century, cellar workers had to wear a heavy iron mask to prevent injury from spontaneously bursting bottles. The disturbance caused by one bottle exploding could cause a chain reaction, with it being routine for cellars to lose 20–90% of their bottles this way. The mysterious circumstance surrounding the then unknown process of fermentation and carbonic gas caused some critics to call the sparkling...

Zooming the Zone

We all know that the best way to get something done is to write down a list of what to do. Well, here for you need of course some idea of what it is you are doing and that usually implies a little of analysing or broadly spoken “cutting into pieces”. In doing so it is sometimes necessary to keep cutting the things again and again until they are small enough to be digested. Parallels to actual eating food? Yes, naturally we wouldn’t eat the whole salmon in one go – even if it smells delicious and we can’t wait to have it down our throats. We would separate it into smaller pieces and then start pleasing our taste buds … but what happens when our cutting results in pieces which have the same behavior or structure, lets say pattern as one of the previously found? Deadlock? Frustration? Maybe initially some excitement of recognizing something and some pleasure of presumptuous “Oh, I know that!”. but that will die away quickly when we realize that we actually didn’t understand anything. Point of depression is reached quickly. However, no need to be disappointed. Just change the zoom from in to out and look at it from the whole. Embrace the thing. Let it simmer in your brain and find its own way. Remember the fractals and Mandelbrot set pictures? How certain pattern popped up again and again and the recursiveness of the whole thing became more and more obvious to that extent that we actually do understand now what this is about. At least some of us. Almost not necessary as...

The tradeoffs of building green

In a short, funny, data-packed talk at TED U, Catherine Mohr walks through all the geeky decisions she made when building a green new house — looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think. >> Play...

Adam Spencer: Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers

What a guy … absolutely funny and interesting … They’re millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down — what’s not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math. Radio host Adam Spencer fills Sydney’s drive-time mornings with smart math and science talk. >> Play...