WITH MOST BEERS the bubbles obey the normal laws of physics and rise to the surface to form a frothy head. But with Guinness the bubbles appear to sink downwards.

Weird. But not as weird as the fact the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) recently turned their immense intellect and funding towards the question of whether or not this was really the case or if it was an optical illusion.

Now, I’ve never met anybody from the RSC, but Dr Andrew Alexander, senior lecturer in chemical physics at the University of Edinburgh, informed me that this project was based on his earlier “preliminary” work. I’m sure they are all jolly fine fellows – and I’m sure they’re remarkably bright people – but could they not have turned their time, resources and our tax money to something more useful?

Frankly, if they think research into this sort of thing is cutting-edge science then we’re all in trouble. And no mistake.

For one thing, had this team of ivory-tower academic intellectuals asked any drinker in any pub in West Lothian, they would have been told, “Yesh, the bubblesh in a pint of Guinnessh really DO go downwardsh.”

That would have saved a bob or two.

It would certainly have saved the cost of the super-fast camera they used to zoom in on the bubbles, and all the ancillary equipment. I mean, how much DID this research cost us?

This team of super-brains could also have made their job easier had they just Googled “bubbles”, “down” and “Guinness” because they would have discovered that some brain-boxes had a look at this several years ago.

What’s more, they posted video clips showing the bubbles sinking. And they even drew some pretty little cartoon pictures to show WHY it happens. Oh, and their drawings are marked with a copyright – dated 2004. Six years ago! What’s more, an article about this appeared in New Scientist towards the end of 1998.

Now, if I was a brilliant scientist with my lab coat pockets stuffed with tax-payers money, the first thing I would do is check to see if it had been done before. I mean, how many times do you have to chuck money at a project to find out if the bubbles in Guinness are still going in the same direction they were six years ago?

And who actually cares? Only people who have never left Student-land for the real world, I suspect.

But then, I’m not bright enough to be a super scientist. And anyway, I’m too busy working to pay my taxes so they can carry out more daft research.

Drew McAdam


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