Memory of soap films

Long back, somewhere, I read something to this effect: “If your life does not allow you to throw stones in ponds and look at the waves, then there is something wrong with it”. I guess the same is true for soap films too. And, some people do have the luxury to make soap films, wonder at them, and then publish papers about them. Here is one of the latest in that category:

A soap bubble is spherical, but a wire frame dipped in soapy water can make other shapes. A research group has now tracked in detail how a film switches from one shape to another when the wire frame is slowly modified. As predicted, the transition point depends on the starting shape, as if the film “remembered” its past. The simple experiment, detailed in the March Physical Review E, is a clear, visual demonstration of a delicately balanced type of equilibrium known as metastability, and it may provide some insights into the way bubbles evolve in solid foams.

The write-up also reminded me of Prof. Eric Lord, his friend Prof. Alan Mackay and the amazing posters of periodic minimal surfaces that they once  exhibited at IISc, Department of Metallurgy (currently, Materials Engineering).

Update: And, what to say about people who drill holes in refrigerators and image icicles as they are forming? Some people get to have all the fun in the world, I tell ya!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: