Friday, November 18, 2005

Cute and colourful bubbles

No, we are not talking about the Google-induced bubbles on the Wall Street. These are regular soap bubbles. But, the colours we are talking about are not the ever-changing bunch of colours you see on the run-of-the mill soap bubbles. We are talking about bubbles that "radiate a single, vibrant hue throughout the entire sphere—a green bubble, an orange bubble, a hot-pink bubble." Bubbles that are unnaturally beautiful.

Mike Haney's Popular Science article -- in 11 parts -- recounts the story of one man's obsession (struggle, quest) to produce utterly colourful bubbles with dyes on the bubble wall that do not stain things when the bubbles go 'pop'. Here is a quick, evocative description of this man's struggle:

Tim Kehoe has stained the whites of his eyes deep blue. He's also stained his face, his car, several bathtubs and a few dozen children. He's had to evacuate his family because he filled the house with noxious fumes. He's ruined every kitchen he's ever had.

When he did finally succeed, Kehoe's obsession finally led to "an outcome even more amazing than he had ever hoped, an outcome no one could have anticipated for the simple reason that no one imagined it possible. The secret to nonstaining colored bubbles, it turns out, is a dye that could unlock a revolution in color chemistry. All you need to do is make color disappear."

Link via the wonderful site that celebrates geekiness in every walk of life: slashdot.

Read the full story. Just one look at the accompanying picture is enough to hook you!


  1. Anonymous said...

    Truly fascinating stuff.
    Thanks for a good read.

  2. Abi said...

    Thanks Ashok. Popular Science seems to be an interesting magazine. It's a pity that we don't have such magazines here in India. The only magazine that addresses high school and college students is 'Resonance', published by the Indian Academy of Science; however, it is a little dry -- you won't find the kind of racy writing that appears in Popular Science.