Animal Physics News from American Physical Society's March Meeting

**EMBARGOED** Please do not report on the results mentioned in this press release until the time and date each respective paper is delivered at the meeting during the week of March 10-14, 2008.


Newswise — Take a new look at nature through the eyes of physicists at the American Physical Society's March Meeting in New Orleans, March 10-14.

Many talks at the meeting will focus on animal locomotion: from the efficiencies of fruit flies in flight, to the knotty behavior of snakes, not to mention a robot that can run on sand, and finding out just how fast dolphins and Olympic medalists can swim.

Reporters are invited to cover this meeting in person, by filling out the registration form at the bottom of this page; or remotely, by contacting the presenters directly. A full list of presentations can be accessed at:

A few highlights of newsworthy talks on animals and physics to be presented at the meeting in New Orleans:

**********************************************************************THE SANDBOT! Georgia Tech researcher Daniel Goldman will reveal new theories about how sand crabs and desert lizards move so well on granular materials, like sand, mud, and gravel. Their results include data from a first-of-its-kind robot called the Sandbot. The Sandbot is a cockroach-like robot whose build mimics the anatomy of these animals, allowing it to run on sand. The work presents new ideas for granular physics, as well as biology, and may one day have applications for humans transportation on grainy material. (D7.00005 : Biological and robotic movement through granular media). See: ************************************************************************TRAINED BATS TAKE FLIGHT IN A WINDTUNNELAs scientists study the flight of birds, bats and insects, live experiments have been difficult to obtain. Researchers present the first experiments of the airflow around a bat wing using a trained bat in a low-turbulence wind tunnel. The analysis of a flapping wing shows different results than stationary wing experiments. This may also mean implications for the design and control of very small air vehicles. (A9.00010: The unsteady flow over a bat wing in mid-downstroke) See: **********************************************************************SNAKE LOCOMOTIONNYU researcher David Hu takes a new look at the slinky-like motion of boa constrictors by comparing them with a computational crawler model. Hu's team examines the constraints and advantages of this motion, like wear on the boa's skin, and why certain snake behaviors sometimes leave them tied up in knots (D7.00004 : Large and limbless: the locomotion of snakes). See: *********************************************************************FRUIT FLIES IN FLIGHTThe difference between fruit fly species in flight may be more interesting than you think. With the chance to observe different flight strategies of nearly identical creatures Cornell researchers show that drag is just as important as lift in keeping the bugs aloft, and determined most the efficient manner of flapping. Understanding these mysteries could help unravel the complexities of flexible wings, and tell scientists what impact evolution has on the development of flight. (A9.00001: Comparing flight strategies in species of fruit flies) See: *********************************************************************WHAT DO MEGAN JENDRICK, ARIANA KUKORS, AND DOLPHINS HAVE IN COMMON?Well, only two of them have won Olympic gold medals, but they're all fish out of water; or rather, mammals in the water. Using digital particle imaging and underwater cameras, researchers have carefully analyzed how mammals swim, with the goal of finding out just how fast they can possibly go. From their analysis they have some suggestions on how to improve mammalian swimming technique. (Session A9.11: Mechanics of Mammalian Swimming) See: ************************************************************************

WEBSITE AND PRESSROOM INFORMATION The main meeting website is Complimentary press registration will allow journalists and public information officers to attend all scientific sessions and exhibits. The meeting pressroom will be located in exhibit hall area B2-2. The phone number there is 564-670-6800.

ABOUT APSThe American Physical Society is the world's leading professional body of physicists, representing over 46,000 physicists in academia and industry in the US and internationally. The APS has offices in College Park, MD; Ridge, NY; and Washington, DC.

ABOUT AIPHeadquartered in College Park, Md., the American Institute of Physics is a not-for-profit membership corporation chartered in New York State in 1931 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare.

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