Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

PacSci-Doku: “Spilt Coffee”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What is the best way to hold your coffee so that it won’t spill?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

I  A  _  P  W  L  R  G  C

PacSci-Doku: Spilt Coffee

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: Spilt Coffee

The question in this edition is:

What is the best way to hold your coffee so that it won’t spill?

The answer: Claw Grip

You are walking down the street trying to juggle your books, brief case, and that cup of coffee you just bought at your favorite coffee house. You remember the sugar and cocoa powder topping, but you forgot the top. Inevitably as you walk along the street, you can’t keep the coffee from sloshing out of the cup on to your clean pants. There is a solution to this inevitable situation. Scientists have determined that the best way to keep the coffee from spilling is to not carry it in the usual way — holding it by the side of the cup. This adds additional movement to the cup because of motion introduced by your wrist.

Instead, you need to use the Claw Grip, which minimizes the probability of spillage. This requires your gripping the top lip of the cup with your fingers space around the outside of the cup. Try carrying your coffee both ways when you next find yourself in this situation. It really does work. Read more about the work done by a South Korean physics student to determine the best way to carry your coffee.