Mystery: Another day, another ‘mist’ -ery solved

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    By Lane Wright

    On the East side of the Eyring Science Center, toward the southern corner of the building, a vapor is emitted from a cement cylinder, sprinkling passerby with a mysterious mist.

    Some people think it”s just water. Other people hope it”s water, and not some other substance (like the liquefied remains of lab gophers from the science center basement).

    “I”ve felt the mist,” said Line Lautaha,a junior from Laie, Hawaii, majoring in social work. “It”s kind of like cold steam,” she said as she tried to describe the mist.

    A more common response is simply “I don”t know.” What is this “cold steam” that mysteriously rises out of the great cement cylinder?

    “At first it was a little creepy because I wasn”t quite sure what the liquid was that I felt,” said Alexis Burns, a junior from Nampa, Idaho studying psychology. “I hope it”s just water because if it”s something else, that would be really gross,” Burns said.

    “It kind of refreshes you throughout the day,” said Chris Rossiter, a senior from Arcadia, Calif., studying marketing.

    The mist is cool, and on a hot day comes as a welcome relief.

    “It kind of refreshes you throughout the day,” said Chris Rossiter, a senior from Arcadia, Calif., studying marketing.

    Maybe the mist was specifically designed to serve students who are diligently studying the hard sciences and religion. Perhaps some BYUSA council of old wanted a way for students to be refreshed and revitalized as they walked to the Benson Building or to the Thomas L. Martin Building. If this was the idea – and quite a good one it would be – why don”t we see more of these around campus?

    Lautaha said she thinks it”s highly unlikely that the air-conditioning idea is correct, but after a moment of thought she admitted that it could be.

    Jake Harris, a senior from Boise, Idaho, studying biochemistry, thinks the mist is just condensation. His theory: “The building is probably more humid than the air outside, so when the air is leaving that building it probably just condenses in the air, and falls on the people as they walk by.”

    Jake said the mist was probably an accident that it condenses over the people. Whoever made the air escape should have put the outtake somewhere else.

    It soon became apparent that only a higher power could reveal the truth. The collective conscience of faculty and staff would surely have the answer. Student workers in the Eyring Science Center suggested the Brewster Building, as it houses the campus physical facilities department.

    Cliff Riley, director of Utilities and Engineering, said the mist and the large cement cylinder that disperses it are part of a cooling system used to air-condition the Thomas L. Martin and the John A. Widtsoe Buildings. There are even other towers just like it in different locations around campus, like the one near the Museum of Art.

    The cement cylinder is actually a cooling tower. A large fan in the tower pulls water from mesh pads and sprays the mist into the atmosphere, where it gently falls on students on their way to class.

    As it turns out, the idea of it being an outdoor air-conditioning system wasn”t too far off.

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