Ketchup Physics 101

“Shake and shake the catsup bottle. None will come, and then a lot’ll.” – Richard Armour

I couldn’t resist. I needed a bit of humor today, at least to break the tension. Beyond that, how can one resist someone “applying” physics to a condiment? That’s a man after my own purpose, and in art no less! Not to be outdone, I think I’ve observed a way to double down and further “apply” the physics herein to people. Yes, this would be applying condiments to people, as opposed to the normal process. Today, of all days, what is the world coming to?

Enjoy this recent article by Lucas Adams that appeared at My musings are tacked at the end.


Ketchup Physics 101
October 3, 2016

The science behind why the ketchup struggle is real.

Cook’s Science believes that ketchup is one of the world’s perfect foods. It’s salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami all at once. You can eat it on almost anything. Malcolm Gladwell once wrote a fantastic article on the subject. Its one flaw? It can be tricky to get out of the bottle, especially if the bottle is glass. Why? Like with much of life, it all comes down to physics. We asked illustrator Lucas Adams to take a look at the history of the ketchup bottle, and the science contained within.

















There you have it, from the ketchup artist’s point of view.

I was pleased to see Midland, Michigan popping up as I used to live and work there for 10 years. I don’t remember hearing about Paul Brown, though, nor about an important invention that could add to Midland’s legitimate claim to being on a historical map somewhere (the other was the discovery of extracting chlorine from brine).

My takeaway, looking to transfer this new knowledge to a new arena:

People are like Ketchup.

We are non-Newtonian beings, since our ‘viscosities’ (behaviors resisting change) also depend upon external forces.

But, then again, we are the opposite of ketchup. Maybe more like anti-Ketchup.

Most of us are ‘shear thickening.’ We resist change like mad. Our Attitudes convert into resistant Behaviors by how our internal forces (‘shear’ rate) direct how we Choose to respond to these external forces, or not (ABCs). With agitation, we get thicker. Anti-Ketchup.

Others are ‘shear thinning.’ With agitation, we get thinner, more adaptive.  Like Ketchup.

In a changing world, being like anti-ketchup would be very beneficial.



About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 05: People, 14: Behavior, 17: Choice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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