Welcome to STEMology – Show Notes
Season 1, Episode 20
Kelvin’s BALLS, robotically printed bridges, dino breathing, and thrice sexy algae
In today’s episode of STEMology…
David and Sophie are talking about Kelvin is famous for many things, and he proposed an item that can spin in fluids in any direction.. But he may have been wrong. 3D printing has gone big with a robotically printed bridge, a discovery that dinosaurs could have breathed in a completely different and new way and a species of algae has been discovered with three sexes
So what they did is they said they built this thing (Isotropic Helicoid) as per Kelvin’s recipe and then they dropped it into a viscous fluid…… and what they observed was…. nothing. They observed no rotation, so they dropped it in and it didn’t rotate.
And then they’ve also developed an advanced sensor network. That is going to monitor the bridge or the bridge, his behavior over its life. As people sort of walk across it … if you think of a bridge that was built 50 or a hundred years ago, the type of traffic on the quantity of traffic that be going over, it will be vastly different to what it was when it was built. And so from a safety perspective, that’s really cool and interesting, but presumably they’re interested in how it fares given that it’s 3D printed and the fact that it’s been manufactured in this way and no one’s ever done that.
Understanding how this dinosaur could breathe would maybe help paleontologist figure out what biological features allow certain dinosaurs to survive or cause them to go extinct.
They reckon this particular algae species might be a bridging point between algae that have two sexes and algae that are hermaphroditic, they only have one sex. Which kind of raises an interesting point of like, why have sexes at all, like, isn’t it just a bit weird and complicated to have two, why not just have one
This is a “kind of, sort of, vaguely close” copy of the words that David & Sophie speak in this episode.
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