It is a question which has perplexed the world’s greatest scientific minds and even eluded great thinkers like Aristotle.
The Royal Society of Chemistry has offered $1500.00 for a member of the public to come up with a convincing explanation for the phenomenon, which has mystified humankind.
The scientific problem, which has become known as the Mpemba effect, has also defeated Francis Bacon and René Descartes.
The problem got its modern name in 1968, when Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba posed the question to professors visiting his school.
Mr Mpemba, who had been studying the problem for five years, had asked Professor Denis Osborne, of Dar es Salaam University: ‘If you take two similar containers with equal volumes of water, one at 35C and the other at 100C, and put them in a refrigerator, the one that started at 100C freezes first. Why?’
The professor was unable to answer and published a paper on the problem the following year, calling it the ‘Mpemba Effect’.
Brian Emsley, media relations manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry, wrote in the Guardian that the winner of the $1500.00 prize will need to ‘make a convincing case and employ some creative thinking’.
Theories put forward based on evaporation, convection and supercooling have all been put forward, but as yet the question still remains unanswered.
Members of the public have until July 30 to submit their entries.
They will be pitted against worldwide postgraduate scientists, who, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, will be tackling the same problem.
Attribution: Daily Mail