Ahh-Mazing “AHA!” Discovery for April 2018: Backyard Bubble Play with the Kids

by Dana Gourley on March 15, 2018

in Ahh-Mazing Discoveries, Innovation, Inventified

Background: Bubbles  involve a delicate network of electrical connections between the soap film and surrounding air. Bubbles transport gas (air) into water. The sound of ocean waves crashing onto the beach comes from popping of bubbles that transfer gases from the atmosphere to the water … think of champagne in a glass and popping bubbles that enhance the aroma. 

As part of his Inventified Family, Rob Gourley has wonderful memories of his uncle, Jim Trowbridge, doing experiments with him and his cousins on creating different wand shapes to see if they can change the orb shape and size of soap bubbles. It was more than child’s play during summer days on Yelping Hill, a woodland retreat outside West Cornwall, Connecticut. Photos show the cover and credit page of the text book that they studied. Their experiments were turned into practical applications by both Rob and his Uncle Jim throughout their lives.

Jim Trowbridge

Uncle Jim was a son of Mason and Helen Trowbridge, a pioneer in the design of American-looking dolls (Rob’s grandparents). After serving in the U.S. Military during World War II, he went back to Yale University and completed his PhD. in Chemistry. During his career at Colgate Palmolive, he researched laundry detergent using statistical methods and computer technologies starting in the early 1960’s. During the next decade, Jim built a programmable washing machine to test different combinations of detergent ingredients and water hardness. He developed one of the first biodegradable detergent products on the market. His nephew, Rob, likes to say it was “Tide” but Rob’s cousins will correct him and say it was “Fab”. Perhaps there was some collaboration among the researchers of the competing Colgate Palmolive and Proctor Gamble companies during the 1970’s, to figure out effective alternative detergent ingredients and substitute for phosphorus that was causing undesirable algal blooms in the waterways.

Photo Credit: Google search

Uncle Jim and his beloved wife, Diana, died in 2013 within one week of each other. Rob and I traveled to Yelping Hill to join family for their memorial. During the weekend, someone discovered three boxes holding the cremation ashes of Jim’s parents, Mason and Helen, and his sister, Harriet, in the attic at the homestead. It is the family’s rite of childhood to climb a large boulder in the yard (no ladder). We all thought it was appropriate that the ashes of all five Trowbridges be spread at the base of the boulder. The photo below shows one of Uncle Jim’s grandsons, Mason, on top of the same boulder.

Rob Gourley

It is interesting to note that Rob is also a professional “bubble master” and likely his early bubble experiments with his Uncle Jim created some of his inspiration. He relies on small micron-sized bubbles from air stones at the bottom of a tank to float through over 6,000 gallons of ultra-pure water. The bubbles transport the Dioxytetahydride Gas into the liquid water to make Watt-Ahh®.

We celebrate the childhood delight of playing with beautiful iridescent soap bubbles that may vanish into thin air but give lasting memories and inspiration.

Do you have an Ahh-mazing “AHA!” Discovery to share?

Email inquiries@aquanew.com. This can be any idea or endeavor that may help others in their own revelation or better quality of life. Alternatively, want to nominate someone with special skills of creativity and innovation? Let us know!

CLICK HERE to read all of our past “AHA!” Discoveries.

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