How would you separate these bowls? The question that gripped the internet

Welcome to the club.

What happened to the bowls?

In a veritable Internet miracle, the bowls have been separated. But I must warn you, it was a roller coaster ride to the finish line. Nguyen started with the basics: ice on the inside (to make the smaller bowl smaller) and hot water on the outside (to make the bigger bowl bigger) and a bunch of other stuff. No dice.

Things soon became desperate. After trying many other strategies, Nguyen did what most ordinary people would do in this situation: talk to the bowls. Even that didn’t work!

Eventually, the increasingly desperate tweeter handed the bowls over to his toddler. And look what happened.

Indeed, it seems your old upside-down and grounded strategies were the answer Twitter was looking for.

I’m really happy for my new friend. But… how did they even get stuck in the first place?

Well, I asked someone who knows a bit about physics. “It’s all down to the coefficient of linear expansion,” says Paul Briozzo of the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. Simply put, when something gets hotter, it gets bigger. A bowl-loving Poirot might suggest that the smaller bowl expand in hot water while Nguyen does the dishes.

This happens often – anyone who owns a shaker knows the problem. And Briozzo reckons the old hot-cold water solution will usually do the trick.

“Running hot water over the outer dish and ice cold water over the inner dish will expand the outside and shrink the inside,” he says. “You only need a small dimensional shift for the two to break free.”

And now the story comes to an end. What a great day on the internet.

I don’t know if solving these problems of bowls stuck together is what the founder of the World Wide Web thought when he created it, but I’m here for whatever brings people together.

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