A researcher in complex dynamics, and former colleague of mine, has been featured in our nation's premiere tabloid. To celebrate this landmark event, the entire article is reproduced below.
- by Colin Brennan
- March 3, 1999
- NUTTY PROFESSOR SPENDS $720,000 -
- TO STOP TEAPOTS FROM DRIBBLING
- THE POUR GUY'S STILL TRYING: After 17 years of research - and endless calculations, the professor still can't get a handle on The Drip.
- For everyone worried about dribbling teapos, you can finally relax. A real-life Nutty Professor has spent $720,000 on taxpayer-sponsored research - and is closing in on a solution to this pressing problem.
- Just when you thought the government was wasting your money, a major improvement in your everyday life may result from the professor's relentless study of fluid dynamics.
- "I've been doing this research for 17 years. It was supported by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force and the National Science Foundation," spouted wild-haired math professor Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck.
- His research gets government backing because the mathematics that explains the flow of tea also apply to the resistance of waves to a ship's hull.
- The 47-year-old researcher - who deosn't even drink tea - worked at the University of Wisconsin until he recently moved to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where he's a professor of mathematics.
- Among his many challenges, he's trying to brew up a foolproof way of stopping teapots from dripping when they are poured.
- "Pouring tea has always been a problem," said the Prof - who's just issued a 20-page report filled with his mathematical calculations about the Big Drip.
- "All teapots have the potential for two kinds of flow. Either the tea goes neatly into the cup or it dribbles down the side of the spout."
- "Trouble is, it's impossible to predict which is going to happen at any time."
- "It is a bit like Russian roulette every time you have a cup of tea. Theoretically, my calculations should be able to work out the optimum type of teapot to make dribbling a thing of the past."
- "But it will take time - you've got to take into account the heat of the water, size of spout, angle of pour, and shape of the teapot."
- The Belgian-born scientist still thinks he can get to the bottom of this tempest in a teapot.
- "I'II keep working at it!" he vows.