A weekend of science


Goggles, ✔︎

Lab coat ✔︎

Latex free gloves ✘

(Got me latex ones.)

May I continue?

Test tubes ✔︎

Bunsen burner ✔︎

Scrap of paper for scientific notations ✔︎

What I’m science’ing ✔︎


With the wind howling a gale outside, Jackie and I wanted to prove that a 17-storey high-rise building sways. We’d heard from a washing machine delivery man that we met in the lift that they do sway very noticeably. He was describing it as a little dinghy on a rough sea.

According to our knowledge of skyscraper construction, which is extensive — Jackie lives in one and I watch NatGeo — this violent movement Mr Hotpoint was describing seemed a little invented. We were, at the time, nearly 16-floors up and not feeling any seasickness.

Because we’re thorough individuals, we got back to Jackie’s, donned our lab coats, and got down to science.

To start we filled a pint glass with a half-pint of water and placed it on the coffee table. We set-up a torch so it shone through, making it easier for us to note any slosh.

We let the glass settle and we watched.

Nothing happened.

We could hear the wind still howling outside but nada, no sloshing water.

While we were discussing our findings, Jackie mentioned that her toilet-water sloshes all the time.

We moved ourselves to the bathroom, lifted the toilet lid, and watched.

Yes indeed, a slosh! A proper slosh, like actual lapping waves on a beach.

We felt suitably confirmed as Jackie’s son caught us. We returned to our pint glass assuring him that we’re perfectly sane.


Placid water.

We flicked the glass to make sure it had water in it, and it did. It sloshed.

Suddenly, the thought struck us CISTERN! Let’s go see if that sloshes.

We headed back the bathroom, opened the cistern, and watched.

There was indeed a slosh. It was a very slight slosh. We opened the lid and compared bowl to cistern. The cistern was like placid water in comparison.

We returned to our pint glass.

No slosh.

Wind howling a gale.

What’s going on?

Upon some discussion, we determined that the toilet is attached to the wall so is in turn attached to the building. The coffee-table, on the other hand, has its four legs touching the floor. Maybe there’s some sort of counter-slosh effect being created by the table legs.

We moved our experiment to the floor.

We let the water settle and watched.


We decided to give-up and stop staring at water.

As we were clearing away our experiment, a big gust of wind hit and we don’t know if it might’ve sloshed the water.

Our findings

Our aim was to see whether water in a pint glass sloshed because the wind moved the 17-storey building.

It was really windy outside, like black arrow on the weather map windy, and we were 16-storeys high.

We found that water in the toilet bowl sloshed like waves on a beach.

We found that water in the toilet cistern sloshed very subtly.

We were unable to detect any slosh in the pint glass during our hour-long experiment.

The violence of the toilet bowl slosh, we believe, is due to air pressure. It is reported that the water sloshes like this in all weathers. We believe, the nature of the waste system within the building accounts for why the toilet water laps like it’s ocean water.

The subtlety of the toilet cistern slosh, we believe, might suggest that the wind does indeed move the building. Jackie, in calmer weather, will watch the cistern water to see if there’s any movement to prove or disprove this little query.

Our inability to get a slosh in a pint glass could be for 3 reasons:

We didn’t give enough time for the water to garner a slosh, however sublte. The toilet has been attached to the wall for years.

Our vessel was too small. The cistern and the bowl are much bigger.

We didn’t have any big gusts of wind during the experiment.

Looking back over our experiment, Jackie and I basically spent our Saturday night peering into her toilet and watching the water slosh.

Understandably, I was too science’d out to do much on Sunday.

Tomos James