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No. 120: Nov-Dec 1998

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More Quantum Weirdness

You have probably already heard how a change in one subatomic particle can cause an instantaneous change in another, even if the second particle is cruising along in another galaxy. That's quantum weirdness all right, but this weirdness can also produce effects we can see and hear.

All you have to do is cool helium down to almost absolute zero. It will liquify but, unlike most other gases, it will not freeze. You are surprised at this, of course. Now, if you spin a bowl of this liquid helium around, you will be astounded. The liquid remains absolutely stationary in its spinning container -- no centrifugal effects, no friction with the contained wall, nada!.

However, the strangest part comes when you:

"Draw a cupful out of the bowl, suspend it a few centimeters above the remaining liquid, then stand back and rub your eyes -- the fluid in the cup will cheat common sense by pouring itself, drop by drop, back into the bowl. A drop climbs up the inside of the cup, then runs down the outside. When it falls, another begins climbing, and the magic continues until the cup is dry."

(Brooks, Michael; "Liquid Genius," New Scientist, p. 24, September 5, 1998.)

From Science Frontiers #120, NOV-DEC 1998. 1998-2000 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