Mechanical Engineering 2018 Spring Seminar Series: Class 530.804

February 15, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
210 Hodson Hall

“Elephant trunks, cat tongues, and the Ig Nobel Prize”

Presented by Professor David Hu, Mechanical Engineering and Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology

Fluid mechanics can appear in surprising places.  Elephants suck air at speeds comparable to a vacuum cleaner, picking up potato crisps without breaking them.  Cats have hairy surface areas equal to that of a ping pong table.  Their tongue is covered in small spines that wick saliva, enabling them to coat the many pockets between their fur.  A routine diaper led the presenter to the universal law of urination and the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University.  The audience will learn how to write simple mathematical models to rationalize everyday phenomena and to turn chance observations into opportunities for worldwide engagement with science.

He has defended his work from a senator:

Videos of his ant and frog works are in the New York Times:

Dr. David Hu is a mechanical engineer who studies the interactions of animals with water.  His team has discovered how dogs shake dry, how insects walk on water, and how eyelashes protect the eyes from drying.  Originally from Rockville, Maryland, he earned degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering from M.I.T., and is now Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biology and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Georgia Tech.  He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award for young scientists, the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Pineapple Science Prize (the Ig Nobel of China).  He serves on the editorial board of Nature Scientific Reports and The Journal of Experimental Biology.   His work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Saturday Night Live, and Highlights for Children.  He has defended basic research in a Scientific American article, Confessions of a Wasteful Scientist.  He lives with his wife Jia and children Harry and Heidi in Atlanta, Georgia.

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