Physicists determine ideal soap recipe for bubble blowing

Forget curing cancer, of finding a vaccine to prevent coronavirus, or sending mankind to new, uncharted planets. Science has finally put its money where its mouth really is by coming up with what must be the greatest discovery since Albert Einstein invented sliced bread. We're talking, of course, about a recipe for better soap bubbles.  

Of course, we're being slightly facetious. All scientists are not rocket scientists, and you can't expect every researcher's field to involve amazing discoveries. Besides, as Ars Technica reports, "bubbles and foam" is actually a fairly robust area of research that deals with very complicated physics. Still, we assume the team behind the recent discovery of "the optimal soap recipe for blowing gigantic bubbles" has had the occasional awkward conversation about their job at the Thanksgiving table. 

Forever blowing bubbles

So, what is this discovery all about and exactly what kind of soap bubble wizardry led to the discovery of the ultimate bubble soap recipe? It all started when physicist Justin Burton of Emory University was in a conference in Barcelona, and became intrigued by some of those street performers blowing incredibly huge bubbles. He noticed the rainbow hues of the bubbles, which told him that the soap was just a few microns thick — to put this in context, it's similar to the wavelength of light. Burton set out to research how soap could possibly retain an intact film at that thickness, and started constructing a recipe that provides the optimal bubble mixture that's sufficiently thin, yet allows the fluid to flow a bit. However, Burton and his team were not doing this because they wanted to use their uber-bubbles to goof around at Burning Man. As Burton himself puts it: "Focusing on a fluid at its most violent moments can tell you a lot about its underlying physics." Wait, when you put it like that, researching soap bubble recipes almost sounds ... pretty cool

The team ultimately came up wit their "perfect" soap bubble recipe, which includes water, some Dawn Professional Detergent, a little guar powder, a dash of rubbing alcohol and a hint of baking powder. And, to be honest, we now know how we're planning to spend the weekend.