Dr. Science Time!

It’s Dr. Science time! Weather’s turned fabulous – sunny, with zero wind (albeit still -42C), but with the sun and no wind, I’ve been leaving Big Red unzipped, or sometimes even leaving it in the locker room if I’m only going out for a couple of minutes. Crazy how quickly one adapts to this climate.

So – the question of the day, from a lovely reader in California:

“Does a falling drop of water freeze before it hits the ground? (Is there a second-floor balcony where you can try this from higher than head-height?)”
Devon, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday was the perfect day to answer this question, and all the different forms in which I’ve been asked it: what happens to hot/cold water flung/sprayed off the top floor of the station? Does it evaporate? Freeze?

To be perfectly frank, the original form of the question had nothing to do with water; it had been if, when you peed off the second story, whether it froze before it hit the ground. But chemical spills of any kind are taken pretty seriously here, and since this is intended as an all-ages educational opportunity, we decided to do the experiments with water.

And now, without any further ado, here are the results of our experimentation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyhl8XkyJGs

(Note: apologies for the low-res of the video. We shot in HD, but needed to compress waaaay down to be able to upload through our skinny little bandwidth down here)

(Second note: the audio didn’t really capture it, but if you listen carefully, you can hear the otherworldly “hisssssssss” the hot water makes when it disappears into a swath of mist.)

(Third note: new pics up at http://picasaweb.google.com/david.cohn)

2 responses to “Dr. Science Time!

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