Re: Q from new Scientist magazine in london

From: Cathy Schaeff (
Date: Wed Sep 10 2003 - 11:54:16 EDT

  • Next message: Cathy Schaeff: "whales and holding their breath"

    Hi Lucy,

    Glad that you wrote. I like your magazine. I'm afraid that your question is outside my area of expertise. I would try contacting someone at the aquarium.
    Vancouver Aquarium Address (
    P.O. Box 3232
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    Canada V6B 3X8
    Phone: 604-659-FISH (3474)
    Fax: 604-659-3515

    Good luck,


    ----- Original Message -----
      To: ;
      Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 9:52 AM
      Subject: Q from new Scientist magazine in london

      Dear Cathy
       - I hope you don't mind me contacting you - I need to find out the answer to rather a random question. I work for the New Scientist magazine in London. You may be familiar with New Scientist - in which case you will be aware of our Last Word section at the back of the magazine, in which we invite readers to submit a question, regarding everyday scientific phenomena that they would like to know the answer to. One such question submitted

      Recently while observing baluga whales at Vancouver's aquarium I
      notice one of them blowing 'air rings'. They were annular bubbles
      which exhibited no obvious bouyancy and could be propelled down to
      the bottom of the pool. Much of the time the whale would blow one
      horizontally then swim up to it and suck it back. Presumably the
      dynamics of the ring is similar to that for smoke rings, but have
      there been any studies of these intriguing air rings? How fast can
      they be projected, how deep and what is the key to producing such
      shapes rather than a normal air bubble.

      and what we need to know is whether the question is a sensible/authentic one - that whales do indeed blow such bubbes (and that the photo is not a whale in an aquarium doing tricks with a ring!)

      Lucy Middleton
      PA to Alun Anderson,
      Editor-in-Chief/Publishing Director
      New Scientist
      tel: 020-7331-2795
      fax: 020-7331-2777

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