Scorpion - Hot water freezes faster than cold

Ack. I know Scorpion has gone off the rails (literally in the subway episode) in terms of crazy action sequences for a bunch of geeky folks (we need to fix a satellite in Antarctica – and they’re there in a blink), but I thought the basic science would still be right. While in Antarctica, they decide hot water freezes faster than cold - and I thought, hmm, that sounds familiar…

Since they were talking cold vs hot, and not hot vs hotter, I am disappointed.

Since this about a column by Cecil, I’ve moved it from ATMB to CoCC.

samclem, moderator

Dang it – thanks!

Hot water does not freeze faster than cold water. It’s as simple as that.

Science-based adventure TV show gets the science wrong. Go figure.

Yeah, I guess so. I was OK suspending disbelief that Walter could throw himself at a train going 90 and not only live, but have precise aim in placing himself where he needed to be. I thought the basic science might be preserved – they didn’t even really need to make that point in this episode so why bother to get it wrong.

I guess I have to dismiss it all and just concentrate on the soap opera elements. :frowning:

New Scientist 2010 [Revealed: Why hot water freezes faster than cold](Revealed: Why hot water freezes faster than cold)

The New Scientist magazine has had a long time interest in the Mpemba Effect, with several articles and many references over the years.

That’s not actually a link. Can you find that again?

Not New Scientist but a discussion of the Mpemba Effect.

I thought the Mpemba Effect had been discounted?

It was never counted in the first place. Every time I run across this it somehow tries to compare water freezing at different rates* under different conditions*. Then it wanders into woo like the linked article above.

New Scientist 2010 Revealed: Why hot water freezes faster than cold

The New Scientist magazine has had a long time interest in the Mpemba Effect, with several articles and many references over the years.

Thank you. Note to self: Do not post while tired…

I can only read the start without a subscription. However, it looks a lot like the other articles which will go into all the ways that various conditions can change the rate that water freezes from a particular temperature, but never when the conditions are the same. So contaminants that hasten crystal formation will do the same thing sooner in colder water. None of these things have anything to do with hot water freezing faster than cold water. That concept is pointless unless the hot water and cold water are frozen under identical conditions, and in that case the cold water will freeze faster. They might as well say that 1 ounce of hot water will freeze faster than 1 gallon of cold water and that proves hot water freezes faster than cold water.

Does anybody have a link to these references? The effect, if it exists, would be a subtle difference at best. It seems odd that anybody would have had any reason to notice this phenomenon pre refrigeration.

You can find links among the Wikipedia references:

Morons.