I wish I had a good coffee spill story for this post, but most of my amusing anecdotes are of burning the hell out of my hand when I grab an overheated mug out of the microwave and the rant that follows.

I have a soft spot in my heart for unusual studies. A recent study examines the physics of coffee sloshing around in overfilled mugs, and how, using the principles of kinematics, people can adjust their pace to avoid a pre-work apocalypse. Of course, big shocker that that none of the news stories linked to the actual study.

This time, readers were even more fired up than usual, screaming about what a waste of funding this is, and why aren’t they working on a cure for cancer instead? I agree; physicists do medicine waaay better than some lousy medical researcher. As I continued to read, I flashed back to my grade school and the whines of why do we have to know this stuff? We’ll never use it.

As far as physics goes, hard to tell where the research might lead. The motion of beverage waves created by bustling cafe goers is unique. As the author points out, the fluid dynamics of coffee combined with human walking patterns is complex. Our folk remedy to avoid spillage, as it were, remained unstudied. It’s a shame people can’t see the value in that.

Not to mention it presumably applies to other beverages as well. But hey, I simply thank these two researchers for helping me be on time for work. Oh, so you want to know the trick now, do you? Here it is: walk slowly, and stare at the liquid in the mug to reduce irregular walking patterns.


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