Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Water Striders

Hello regular readers and accidental tourists. Apologies for the sparse posts these past few weeks. We're busy getting a few things ready for the APS March Meeting in New Orleans, which although is still over a month away is moving in on us quickly. Mostly we're sorting through the 6,000 abstracts and hundreds of invited talks that will be presented at the 5 day conference and picking out our favorites. In doing so, I've found some really cool stuff, all of which I'd love to share with you. Today's post is just something to tide you over until I can put together something fancy.

Take a gander at the website of David Hu, a physicist at the NYU Courant Institute. Hu specializes in analyzing biological systems with physics. For instance, at the March Meeting, he'll be presenting his work that questions how snakes move the way they do - particulary in their unidirectional slinky-like motion. At times, he gets down to the nitty-gritty of analyzing the very details of motion. He and his team created a crawler model to follow the snake's motion. They'll also be presenting results about certain snake behaviors that result in their tying themselves into knots.

In previous years, Hu and his team have done extensive work on bugs that walk on water, examining how they manage to not break the surface tension and stay on top, and how they propel themselves along so gently. For this work they also built a robotic mimic: the Robostrider!

Here I've included some of my favorite pictures from the site, but I encourage you to click the link and see the presentation Hu and his team give.


Photos via http://www-math.mit.edu/%7Edhu/Striderweb/striderweb.html

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