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Plouf/plop puzzle

ThrownStone.gifThe puzzle of the pebble that ‘ploufs’ or ‘plops’

Ever wondered why, sometimes when you throw a stone in a lake you hear ?plouf?, and another time you?ll hear ?plop??

No, neither has this column?s writer. But the phenomenon has clearly troubled some: a group of French researchers has received funding to explain the plouf/plop puzzle.

Oh the naivety, I hear the team say. Understanding why a pebble makes a plouf or plop sound is only the starting point for the scientists, from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Lyon, and could lead to technical advances to improve maritime safety….

Bocquet.jpgSo begins an unnamed writer in the March 23, 2007 issue of Cordis Express. He or she refers to the work of stone-skipping physicist Lyd?ric Bocquet. Bocquet’s (and colleagues’) study, called “Making a splash with water repellency”, published in Nature Physics, vol. 3, March 2007, can be downloaded at your pleasure.

(Thanks to investigator Margaret Christie for bringing this to our attention.)

Improbable Research