Popping a bottle of bubbly is a universal expression of celebration, but there's a fine line between a celebratory pop and a clean-up burst of bubbles. University professor Dra. Eugenia Cheng has created a mathematical formula for achieving the perfect octopus.
– i the secret is in how the bottle is cooled.
Dr Eugenia Cheng, honorary member of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, identified the perfect octopus by using computer software, known as spectral analysis, to analyze the 'ring' it produces. Research revealed that a corkscrew's most desirable ring is at a constant level between 8,000 Hz and 12,000 Hz, known as the “bright” tone by sound engineers.
This appeals to the human ear because constant frequency creates sounds comparable to cymbals and birdsong, while tones with fluctuating frequency intensity cause harsh noises, like nails on a chalkboard.
To help hosts achieve that “perfect pop” in their own homes, Cheng turned to math, using two variables: temperature and hand pressure, to create the formula for the perfect pop:
The formula dictates that a bottle of bubbly should be cooled to 6.7 degrees Celsius with minimal pulling force applied to open the cork.
Dr. Cheng's experiment revealed that, in practice, a typical refrigerator only chills a bottle of bubbly to 11 degrees. So, to reach the optimal 6.7 degree cork burst conditions, the bottle must be chilled in an ice bucket for 40 minutes.
By cooling the sparkling bottle longer to reach lower temperatures, the bubbles inside will have less energy, requiring less pressure when removing the cork as less gas will escape, resulting in a nicer touch rather than a loud noise
Dr Cheng comments: “The sound of a cork is certainly associated with celebration, but there is a debate about whether an octopus should be loud and bubbly, or quiet and reserved, and I was intrigued to see what we the math might say about that. "