There are several ways to respond to a smart remark or personal insult issued by a buddy of yours. One of the more juvenile yet deliciously satisfying ways to get even (if you both happen to be throwing back some beers) is to tap the top of his bottle with the bottom of yours, stand back, and watch the fireworks. Those who have pulled this stunt no doubt recall the confused, cocked dog-head stare followed by wide-eyed panic as the foam spews forth from the opening like a malted old faithful. Your friend is left to either watch helplessly as his hand, shirt, pants and shoes are drenched with beer or, if he or she is daring, to accept the physical challenge and plunge the erupting brew into their mouth and chug. Waste not, want not.Now, the stalwart Spaniards at the University of Madrid have scientifically analyzed this phenomenon, which up until now had been one of the many unsolved mysteries of the universe, and explained it in depth. It turns out to be a much more complicated chain reaction of events then whatever series of motions caused you to try and hose your friend in the first place.
Coming via NPR and utilizing some very informative GIFs, the process is broken down in a series of steps. Suffice to say, it’s nothing short of a miracle that getting even with your obnoxious friend doesn’t get you both killed in the process. The act of smacking the top of a beer bottle causes vibrating waves to cascade downward making the tiny bubbles of gaseous carbon dioxide expand and contract violently until a small mushroom cloud forms. This growing cloud is what causes the beer to foam and spew vigorously from the opening. The mushroom cloud description is more than just a metaphor; the physics behind one caused by a nuclear detonation or by drunken collegiate hijinks are one and the same.In case you were wondering whether the team of researchers published this data as a thin excuse to explain the raging kegger thrown in the lab that no one bothered to clean up, spokesman Javier Rodriguez explains that these findings could help prevent or mitigate the large releases of carbon dioxide by cataclysmic events such as volcano eruptions.
In the mean time we hope these findings prove beneficial to you, if nothing more than reminding you that the next time you insult your buddy’s beer choice to keep one hand firmly on top of your bottle.