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Newsletter  2022.3  Index

Theme :"The Conference of Fluid Engineering Division (March issue)"

  1. Preface
    (T. Hashimoto,S. Matsuda,H.J. Park)
  2. Impressionism in physics: examples from hydrodynamic and interfacial phenomena
    Ko OKUMURA (Ochanomizu University)
  3. Investigation of friction torque loss in a narrow gap between a rotating and a stationary disk in a centrifugal impeller
    Kento SAKAI, Yumeno INABA, Kazuyoshi MIYAGAWA (Waseda University),
    Takeshi SANO, Satoshi MAEDA (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)
  4. The relationship between extensional and shear rheology of power-law fluids
    Yuzuki MATSUMOTO (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology), Yoshiyuki TAGAWA (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)
  5. The charm of the flame whirlwind
    Minoru Tanaka (Meisei University)


Impressionism in physics: examples from hydrodynamic and interfacial phenomena

Ko Okumura
Ochanomizu University


A few hundred years ago, painters started capturing scenes in a simple way to emphasize vivid impression with elegance, ignoring many details. Such impressionism can be applied to physics: physicists capture phenomena in a simple manner to extract physical essence with elegance.

I learned this style in physics from many texts and articles by Professor de Gennes. I had an opportunity to work with him in Paris to be fascinated by the style [1]. Soon after, I translated his book on capillarity and I ended the translation with an afterword entitled “invitation to impressionistic physics.” As a result, although I had been a theoretical physicist, I started simple experiments in our group with students to perform this style. This is because he communicated experimentalists around him to produce elegant work.

In this short article, I explain how this style works, introducing examples (Figure 1, [2,3]) from our research.

Figure 1:Example of data collapse.(a) original data.(b) plot with new axes.Adapted from[3](CC BY 4.0).

This short article is based on a plenary talk given in a Conference of Fluids Engineering Division of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME-FED) in November 2021 and supported by JSPS / KAKENHI Grant Number JP19H01859.

Key words

scaling law, critical phenomena, impressionist physics, bursting of a bubble


[1] Okumura, My memories of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Tackling Global Issues vol.1 Soft Matter: Material of the Future Global Relations Office, Institute for International Collaboration, Hokkaido University Published in March 2018. REM: At the beginning of the second page, the following phrases are erroneously dropped: “disappear. The faxes I sent him could be very long, often up to 10 pages. In contrast, his faxes were very”
[2] Ko Okumura, Viscous dynamics of drops and bubbles in Hele-Shaw cells: drainage, drag friction, coalescence, and bursting, Adv. Colloid Interface Sci. 255, 64-75 (2018)
[3] Mayuko Murano and Ko Okumura, Bursting dynamics of viscous film without circular symmetry: the effect of confinement, Phys. Rev. Fluids 3, 031601(R) (2018).
Last Update:3.1.2022