What you’re looking at is a droplet of water, frozen in time by powder after a single bounce, captured in super slow motion for your gape-mouthed wonder. It’s the work of researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia who specialize in high-speed fluid imaging, which sounds like a pretty awesome job.
The special water-repellent powder covers the entire surface of the drops when they make impact, which preserves their deformed shape as they make their first bounce. The freezing phenomenon apparently only happens when a smaller dop was ejected after the initial impact, and when the drops were falling at a minimum speed of 1.6m per second. But when it works, the results seem like magic, or the work of a mad scientist. And besides providing a few moments where you can marvel in awe at science, the research could lead to improvements in fields such as water cooling, or improved hydrodynamics for watercraft.