Why Does Coffee Spill When We Walk With It?
In 2012, the U.S. government paid a cool $170,000 to UC Santa Barbara to study why coffee spills when you walk with it, presumably as a way to settle the world's most expensive office bet. In the end, this scholastic masterpiece took us to new heights of understanding, revealing that coffee spills when you walk with it because of "interplay between the complex motion of a cup, due to the biomechanics of a walking individual, and the low-viscosity-liquid dynamics in it." In other words, your body moves when you walk, and coffee isn't a solid so it sloshes. But 170k also buys you some nifty charts, so if you need a visual depiction of why coffee spills, here you go:
Krechetnikov Fluid Physics Laboratory, UC Santa BarbaraIt's government-funded, so spilling hot coffee on yourself earns you a Purple Heart.
Despite being stupid expensive, the study was woefully lacking in recommendations for reducing coffee loss. Fortunately, there's been some additional research on spills, and one study has some solid ideas for keeping your Joe in the cup, most of which will make you look like a complete dork. You can start by strapping the cup to your waist, which eliminates much of the motion that causes sloshing. You can also walk backwards, or order a drink with lots and lots of foam, since that subdues the motion of the liquid underneath it. You could also drink your coffee from a wine glass, which will probably get you some strange looks -- and possibly a referral to AA -- but should greatly reduce spillage. And finally: Just use a freaking lid.