Four Physicists At BYU Have Figured Out The Cleanest Way For Men To Pee

Senior Contributor
11.08.13 8 Comments


Many scientists bid for a Nobel. A select few bid, nay, are chosen, for an Ig Nobel. The four scientists at Brigham Young University who spent time figuring out the cleanest way to men to pee are probably a lock.

You might think these self-described “whizz-kids” were just screwing around, but no, they’re serious. They spent real time thinking about the fluid dynamics of urine, using colored liquids and nozzles to simulate urination. Aside from sitting on the toilet to take a whiz, your other option is, well, here’s some science about how to pee correctly:

They also discovered something likely few men have considered—that urine follows what is known as the Plateau-Rayleigh instability—where a pee stream breaks up into drops before striking something else. That’s the worst thing that can happen, the team reports, because each drop creates splash-back. To avoid that, men should stand as close to the urinal as possible, they advise. Also helpful is directing the stream to hit the back of the urinal at a downward angle.

First of all, you could also have learned that just by watching Mythbusters. Secondly, you needed to engage in complicated fluid dynamics to figure this out? What were these guys doing, pointing it up and wondering why everything suddenly tasted salty?

Anyway, if you were wondering what the proper method of limiting splashback was, science has finally confirmed the common-sense, obvious answer. Go forth with clean trousers and shoes, gentlemen. Also, if you’re a BYU alum, you might want to think about this before you cut your alma mater another check.

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Dan Seitz is a grad student and freelance writer. He currently lives in Boston.

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