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Physics tip sheet #37

able to reproduce most of the observed features of bathtub vortices bringing us closer to properly understanding just how a bathtub drains. Some of the more surprising features of bathtub drainage that may be new to you are that bubbles often detach from the bottom tip of the vortex before it reaches all the way down to the plughole. These bubbles occur because the tip of the vortex is unstable when rotation is fast. The air bubble is usually sucked straight down the drain after detaching. The flow around the plughole itself has some unusual behavior. Most of the water on the bottom of the tub flows toward the hole but about one centimeter before the hole, jumps upward before turning around and going down the hole.

Journal article: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v91/e104502

4) Wave nature of biomolecules
L. Hackermuller, et al.
Physical Review Letters (Published online: August 28, 2003)

The wave nature of biomolecules has been shown for the first time in tetraphenylporphyrin (TPP) and quantum interference has been shown for the largest molecules yet. These experiments showed that when the molecules passed through two slits, they formed interference patterns on a screen, just like two rocks thrown into a pond show interference patterns of waves on the surface. The porphyrin structure in TPP is at the heart of many biomolecules and is the color center of chlorophyll and hemoglobin. The largest molecule to exhibit interference is the fluorofullerene C60F48. Experiments showed that the interference happens exactly as predicted by quantum mechanics, despite the molecules consisting of 78 and 108 atoms each.

Journal article: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v91/e090408

5) Superfluid gyroscope
E. Hodby, et al.
Physical Review Letters (Published online: August 27, 2003)
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Contact: David Harris
harris@aps.org
301-209-3238
American Physical Society
8-Sep-2003


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