The Physics of Guinness Beer Demystified

Over the years the physi­cists behind the YouTube chan­nel Six­ty Sym­bols have answered some big ques­tions — like what hap­pens if you stick your hand inside the Large Hadron Col­lid­er? Or do physi­cists believe in God? But now these fine sci­en­tists from The Uni­ver­si­ty of Not­ting­ham have brought physics to a lev­el that I can per­son­al­ly appre­ci­ate. They’ve hit the streets of Dublin to demys­ti­fy what goes into the finest of Irish liba­tions, the per­fect glass of Guin­ness Beer. Their inquiry starts with the most obvi­ous ques­tion: What cre­ates that thick beige froth that sits ele­gant­ly atop the dark brown stout? It sounds like a mun­dane ques­tion. Until you real­ize it’s not. The dynam­ics of Guin­ness foam can be explained part­ly by work done by the Irish physi­cist Lord Kelvin (1824–1907) long ago. But oth­er aspects of Guin­ness foam are still being hot­ly con­test­ed by physi­cists today. Take for exam­ple this paper, Waves in Guin­ness, pub­lished in 2008 in the jour­nal Physics of Flu­ids. Now we’ll let Six­ty Sym­bols explain the rest.…

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.