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No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991

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Drip, drop, drup, dr**

A dripping faucet is usually conceived as a well-ordered dependable phenomenon. You simple turn the faucet a bit counterclockwise and the drip rate increases. It's so simple.

Surprise! Dripping faucets are chaotic systems, as described in the following Abstract:

"The dripping water faucet is a simple system which is shown in this article to be rich in examples of chaotic behavior. Data were taken for a wide range of drip rates for two different faucet nozzles and plotted as discrete time maps. Different routes to chaos, bifurcation and intermittency, are demonstrated for the different nozzles. Examples of period-1, - 2, -3, and -4 attractors, as well as strange attractors, are presented and correlated to the formation of drops leaving the faucet."

(Dreyer, K., and Hickey, F.R.; "The Route to Chaos in a Dripping Water Faucet," American Journal of Physics, 59:619, 1991.)

Comment. O.K., so faucets dribble a bit.

From Science Frontiers #77, SEP-OCT 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987