Printer Friendly

A bathful of eurekas...

Does Soap Have Free Will? by Comber B, et al. Journal of Cleanliness Studies, Vol 47, January 2014.

Abstract: The elusiveness of bars of soap when dropped in baths has often been commented upon but until now no formal research has been conducted. The current study was designed to test the hypothesis that soap immersed in bathwater has a mind of its own that it employs to evade recapture.

Materials and Method: Bars of Knights Castile, Imperial Leather and Palmolive Green Original were obtained from Poundland and assigned at random to the test subjects. To permit precise underwater tracking of the soap, the bars were injected with radioactive isotopes. Baths were drawn at a temperature of 39.5C to a depth of 18 inches (Imperial), 45.7cm (Knights Castile and Palmolive). Subjects then disrobed and entered the baths, lying still until the waves died down and homeostatic equilibrium was reached.

A standard bathing ritual was then conducted with the soap dropped into the water at random intervals.

Movements of the hand/hands pursuing the soap were monitored along with those of the soap bar itself. A note was also taken of whether the soap was dropped by the bather or by a non-bather and whether the dropping was intentional or unintentional. Water speed and wave movements were also measured at all stages.

Experiment: Four subjects, aged 21-97, exhibited markedly different attitudes to the research. Subject A (male, 97) was fully compliant; subject B (male, 21) said he'd showered on Sunday and it was too early for another bath; subject C (male, 24) said: "What do you mean, radioactive isotopes? I'm not getting into a bath with that in it"; and subject D (female, age withheld) said: "Don't be silly," and walked off shaking her head.

The experiments therefore continued with only one subject.

Each bar of soap was dropped into the water 16 times, eight times by the subject and eight by a blindfolded experimenter to preserve anonymity of the brand of soap. In each case, the soap droppings were equally divided between deliberate and accidental.

Results: Times taken to retrieve the soap varied between 4.7 and 28.9 seconds. Soap search duration was found not to be time-dependent, with no significant improvement found for later trials compared with earlier ones. There were no significant correlations between times for retrieving self-dropped as opposed to experimenter-dropped soap, or for deliberate, compared with accidental dropping.

Significant correlations was found between the linear motion of the soap and the motion of the pursuing hand, while the speed of the soap was found to correlate with the reciprocal of the soap-hand distance.

Conclusions: The findings that soap speed increases as a hand approaches and that its direction is roughly at 90 degrees to that of the pursuing hand suggest either that the hand creates currents that make the pursuit more difficult or that the soap has a mind of its own. Further research is needed.

Copyright 2014 Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group Provided by , an company
COPYRIGHT 2014 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jan 29, 2014
Previous Article:Manslaughter case verdict is postponed.
Next Article:Rioter 'trained online'.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters