Although it seems to be a simple question to answer, scientists have long puzzled over the issue of whether cold water freezes faster than hot. As a teenager in Tanzania, Erasto Mpemba discovered that hot liquids freeze faster when making ice cream with his friends. Physicist Denis Osborne investigated this discovery, which came to be called the Mpemba Effect. A number of theories have emerged related to polar hydrogen bonds, evaporation, and other factors. Zhiyue Lu and Oren Raz released a 2017 paper supporting the idea that the Mpemba Effect was real. Further research by John Bechhoefer leaned further support. However, others such as Henry Burridge believe we still lack a clear physical explanation for the Mpemba Effect.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mpemba found the effect by accident when making ice cream as a student in Tanzania.
  • Many have been skeptical, but one study concluded that a system farther away from the target can reach the target faster.
  • Others remain unconvinced, stating that no one has given a clear physical explanation for the effect.

“The modern term for hot water freezing faster than cold water is the Mpemba effect, named after Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian teenager who, along with the physicist Denis Osborne, conducted the first systematic, scientific studies of it in the 1960s.”

Read more: