This Is One Awesomely Perfect And Refreshing Example Of Surface Tension

Missing the Olympics? Trapped in the office dying to dive in a pool or the sea? Love physics? If the answer is yes to any or all of this questions, you will love this amazing image of a swimmer about to break out of the water. Expand for gorgeous detail (2300 x 1294 pixel).

The swimmer seems to be perfectly wrapped in glass thanks to a well known physics phenomenom called surface tension. From the Wikipedia:

Surface tension is a contractive tendency of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force. It is revealed, for example, in the floating of some objects on the surface of water, even though they are denser than water, and in the ability of some insects (eg. water striders) to run on the water surface. This property is caused by cohesion of similar molecules, and is responsible for many of the behaviours of liquids.

It can also be quite beautiful. The swimmer is Tyler Clary. And I wish I were him right now. [Thanks Karl!]

Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images.

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    Amazing shot. The photographer would've been doing cartwheels

    That's why I don't do swimming, it makes your face melt!

    I dunno, I think general fluid dynamics would be more relevant to the image than surface tension. Surface tension's about the surface and things on the surface. Look for awesome soap-bubble tricks with cotton thread loops and cubic support frames.

      Agreed. This is typical fluid mechanics where the boundary layer has not been broken up by turbulent flow.

      Beautiful photo too!

    the water in the Olympic pool is not the same water that you and I swim in at the local pool. There are additives in the water to provide it with this characteristic.

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