Prune fingers lead to insights on structural strength

Have you ever thought about how incredible it is that our skin not only doesn’t dissolve after being submerged in water for a long time, but retains its strength? Mathematicians are thinking about it, and are hoping the study of pruny skin will shed light on new ways to provide structural stability. Myfanwy Evans, an Australian mathematician who specializes in topology — a branch of math that studies how geometric figures remain unchanged even after they have been bent and stretched — has used her experience with strange shapes called gyroids1 to come up with a “stringy skin model” that may explain how our skin works. This model could lead to the development of new materials that provide the same structural stability as human skin.

[1] Gyroids are beautifully strange (or strangely beautiful) shapes with minimal surface areas and no straight lines.

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5 thoughts on “Prune fingers lead to insights on structural strength

  1. Great, now we just combine the synthetic skin with the android a few posts below, and bam! We’re going to need a Voight-Kampff tests :)

  2. But hopefully we won’t need Harrison Ford to blow the rogue androids away.

    Why aren’t we concentrating all of our efforts on flying cars instead of super-realistic androids who are going to ruin the future?! I want my flying car!

  3. Yeah, he’s way too old to be hunting replicants!

    Unless they make a replicant of him…

    Then life would really be imitating the movies :)

    True, how many movies or stories involve flying cars turning the world into a dystopia ruled by the said flying cars vs how many with androids doing that?

  4. Although I’m thinkin’ if we don’t eradicate stuff like texting while driving, chatting on one’s cell phone while driving, rummaging around in one’s purse while driving, putting on makeup while driving, eating a five-course meal while driving, etc., heavy flying car traffic may pose a greater threat to humankind than an android dystopia. Just think of our current population in Coruscant and you get the picture.

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