Nature.com reports, in Geometric whirlpools revealed – Recipe for making symmetrical holes in water is easy, that it is surprisingly easy to make “holes” in a bucket of water that have all kinds of interesting shapes.
The researchers found that once the plate was spinning so fast that the water span out to the sides, creating a hole of air in the middle, the dry patch wasn’t circular as might be expected. Instead it evolved, as the bucket’s spin sped up, from an ellipse to a three-sided star, to a square, a pentagon, and, at the highest speeds investigated, a hexagon.
Photo credit: T.R.N. Jansson
From talking with my high school aged sons, it sounds like high school science classes have become downright boring. I suspect budgets and fear of liability law suits have chased the hands-on lessons out of the classrooms. That is truly a shame since I fondly remember many experiments from my school physics, chemistry and biology classes. Perhaps this new phenomenon will entertain and educate future generations.