A Queensland University of Technology (QUT) physics lecturer has found a 99-year-old mistake in the Oxford English Dictionary - and is having it corrected.
Dr Stephen Hughes said he had discovered last year that the dictionary's definition of the word siphon, and most other dictionaries', was incorrect.
A siphon is a tube commonly used to empty containers of liquid that are otherwise difficult or impossible to empty, such as fish tanks or petrol tanks.
Dr Hughes said the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 1911 had incorrectly stated that atmospheric pressure was the operating force in a siphon when in fact it was gravity.
"It is gravity that moves the fluid in a siphon, with the water in the longer downward arm pulling the water up the shorter arm," he said.
Now the illustrious Oxford English Dictionary's editors are moving to have the definition corrected, after receiving an email from Dr Hughes.
He said that according to the dictionary's website, the OED's revision team was up to the letter R.
"I thought, 'oh good, just in time', because S is next," Dr Hughes said.
The senior lecturer with QUT's Physics Department discovered the error after viewing an enormous siphon in South Australia, which was transferring the equivalent of 4000 Olympic swimming pools from the Murray River system into depleted Lake Bonney.http://www.physorg.com/news192688538.html
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