Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Erasto Mpemba and The "Mpemba Effect"

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 In a country where science is highly avoided by many, I doubt if the majority of Tanzanians know the name Erasto Mpemba.  Erasto Mpemba is globally credited for the “Mpemba effect” a scientific discovery in 1963 by him where he observed that hot water freezes faster than cold water!

Although such famous people as Aristotle, Sir Francis Bacon and René Descartes described the Mpemba Effect, it is named after Erasto Mpemba, who noticed that, at equal quantities, boiling water will freeze faster than water at room temperature.

Back in the 1960′s, Erasto, aged 13, was making ice cream at Magamba Secondary School. He noticed that when the ice cream was hot and started to freeze, it froze quicker than if it was already cold. His teacher dismissed the result, calling it “Mpemba’s physics” and subjected him to some ridicule.

In fairness to the teacher, the result did fly in the face of accepted physics (Newton’s Law of Cooling), but to refuse to believe a student strikes me as being poor teaching, not to mention unscientific.

Fast forward a few years and a Dr. Denis Osborne visited Mkwawa High School, where Erasto had moved and where the “Mpemba Physics” jibe had continued, when he continued to ask questions about the effect. Dr Osborne was also sceptical, but set out to show Mpemba that he was wrong, by repeating the experiment together. Of course, the new work proved Mpemba correct, much to everyone’s surprise.

In 1969, they published a joint paper on the Mpemba Effect, as a result of which they discovered that
many eminent scholars from Aristotle to Descartes had noted a similar phenomenon. Currently, the reason for the Mpemba Effect is still unknown.

It time for the government to use Mpemba's image in trying to inspire our fledgling youth who are constantly stumbling when it comes to education. And for Mpemba, he should be awarded the highest honor of the nation

No one up to date has the true definition of the mpemba effect..........


  1. he deserves a stature

  2. He deserves more than a statue, he deserves a medal