Hooray for science

Nature reports that scientists at the University of Minnesota have experimentally verified that it’s just as easy to swim in a pool full of syrup as it is to swim in a pool full of water.

Cussler and Gettelfinger took more than 300 kilograms of guar gum, an edible thickening agent found in salad dressings, ice cream and shampoo, and dumped it into a 25-metre swimming pool, creating a gloopy liquid twice as thick as water. “It looked like snot,” says Cussler.

The pair then asked 16 volunteers, a mix of both competitive and recreational swimmers, to swim in a regular pool and in the guar syrup. Whatever strokes they used, the swimmers’ times differed by no more than 4%, with neither water nor syrup producing consistently faster times, the researchers report in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal.

The most troublesome part of the experiment was getting permission to do it in the first place.

Coming soon: the science behind nude mud wrestling!