Let’s learn about bubbles

What better activity is there for a beautiful summer day?

hands holding a large soap bubble

Blowing soap bubbles is easy. Blowing big soap bubbles is a bit more tricky. And there’s a secret to picking up a bubble — use wet hands.

Linh Moran Photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Bubbles are everywhere. You just need to know where to look. There’s the obvious place — the soap bubbles in your bath. There are also bubbles in your body. They’re responsible for your cracking knuckles. The gems in a ring might have bubbles, called inclusions. Going farther out, humpback whales use bubbles to hunt. And scientists figured out a way to heal wounds with bubbles.

But the best bubbles, at least on a sunny summer day, are probably the bubbles you blow in your own backyard. Scientists have found these bubbles to be alluring, too. They’ve figured out the best way to blow perfect bubbles, and the secret recipe for making huge ones. They’ve also listened in on bubble bursts to figure out the physics that underlie the gentle “pfttt” that accompanies a bubble’s demise.

Want to know more? We’ve got some stories to get you started:

Scientists find the secret to colossal bubbles: This ingredient helps big bubbles stay stretchy and resist popping (10/9/2019) Readability: 7.2

Soap bubbles’ ‘pop’ reveals the physics of the bursts: Eavesdropping on bursting bubbles reveals the shifting forces that generate the sound (4/1/2020) Readability: 6.3

Blowing bubbles for science: For perfect bubbles, air speed is more important than the thickness of a soap film (3/11/2016) Readability: 7

Explore more

Scientists Say: Inclusion

Explainer: What are polymers? 

Teen designs belt to hold down a sea turtle’s bubble butt

Word find

Learn the recipe for bubble solution, how to blow bubbles inside bubbles and how to pick up a bubble blown on a table.

Sarah Zielinski is the Editor, Print at Science News Explores. She has degrees in biology and journalism and likes to write about ecology, plants and animals. She has three cats: Oscar, Saffir and Alani.

More Stories from Science News Explores on Physics