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The proper way to use ketchup, according to science

Australian scientist Anthony Stickland had the tasty idea to conduct research on how to effectively get ketchup out of a glass bottle — you know, without the ketchup splattering everywhere in the process. Part of the thing that makes ketchup distribution tricky is that the substance is a "non-Newtonian" liquid, meaning that it doesn't respond to force like water, alcohol, and oil do. Instead of moving twice as fast for twice the amount of force, as described by Sir Isaac Newton, the thickness of ketchup changes based on how hard, fast, or long force is applied, The New York Times reports.

"You need to overcome the yield stress to mix it, so it needs a decent oomph," Stickland explained, recommending you shake the bottle with the cap on first. "Briefly invoke your inner paint shaker." Part two involves turning the bottle upside down and delivering a "strong whack" to the bottom: "Swiftly stopping the bottle should slump the sauce into the neck," he said.

Then remove the cap and gently pour, making sure the ketchup doesn't slip back to the bottom. "The amount of force depends on how much is left in the bottle," Stickland said. "A full bottle will have the weight of the sauce pushing down whenever the bottle is tilted, whereas a nearly empty bottle will need some help."

Confused? "Newton's laws of motion always hold," The New York Times notes, "so any way to induce acceleration through tilting, whacking, or shaking should work."

Watch a demonstration — preferably not on an empty stomach — below. Jeva Lange