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Oobleck Explained, Sorta

Published on April 9th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

The staff at Science Friday, gets two experts, University
of Michigan’s Robert Deegan and University of Texas’ Harry Swinney, to
unravel what is going on with dancing oobleck.


Says Deegan: “It’s really astonishing. Swinney: “It is. It’s really
remarkable.” Deegan: “Somehow, these particles are combining and they
are forming some structure.”


Though the above statement is not exactly graduate level physics, the pair does
their best to provide a high-level explanation of what’s going on at
times with this stuff. And, they actually give a plausible explanation
of why multiple, long-lasting holes can be made in the fluid exposed to
standing waves.


But, what about those scary dancing fingers? Says Swinney: “Ah, the
fingers . . . are more subtle. That’s something we don’t understand as


Score: Oobleck 1, physicists 0.


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