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Sancho

(9,073 posts)
Mon Mar 7, 2022, 09:58 PM Mar 2022

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman's famed physics puzzle

https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/two-mit-students-just-solved-richard-feynmans-famed-physics-puzzle/?

Richard Feynman, world-class physicist, bongo player, and writer of letters, once spent an evening trying to break spaghetti into two pieces by bending it at both ends. After hours spent in the kitchen and a great deal of pasta having been wasted, he and his friend Danny Hillis admitted defeat. Even worse, they had no solution for why the spaghetti always broke into at least three pieces.

BUT SCIENCE LOVES A GOOD CHALLENGE

The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch won an Ig Nobel Prize, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously.

They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a “snapback effect” is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.

While this settled the issue of why spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn’t establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.


Read the article...
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Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman's famed physics puzzle (Original Post) Sancho Mar 2022 OP
Things like this tend to end up being non-trivial. Some time back I remarked on... NNadir Mar 2022 #1
My wife doesn't like it when I throw spaghetti against the wall underpants Mar 2022 #2
You sure that's not Turbineguy Mar 2022 #3
This message was self-deleted by its author jfz9580m Mar 2022 #4
I can't wait to try this. scipan Mar 2022 #5
at least pasta is cheap...I broke up a box today... Sancho Mar 2022 #6

NNadir

(33,691 posts)
1. Things like this tend to end up being non-trivial. Some time back I remarked on...
Mon Mar 7, 2022, 10:08 PM
Mar 2022

..."Lord Rayleigh's" consideration of the sound of bubbles: I just stumbled into a very old paper by "Lord Rayleigh" contemplating water boiling in a pot.

Rayleigh's work on bubbles ended up being very important to engineering.

I haven't looked at the article, and I have no idea why spaghetti breaks into three pieces, but I would not be surprised if it turned out to have important implications.

Response to Sancho (Original post)

scipan

(2,481 posts)
5. I can't wait to try this.
Tue Mar 8, 2022, 05:21 PM
Mar 2022

Also, this hit my funny bone:

“Having solved the problem of how to properly break spaghetti, they plan to focus on linguine next.”

They may spend their whole careers on this!

Sancho

(9,073 posts)
6. at least pasta is cheap...I broke up a box today...
Tue Mar 8, 2022, 05:36 PM
Mar 2022

...my wife already knows I'm crazy. I told her it was a new recipe from the internet.



ps: she didn't believe me

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