MEMS Seminar: Ants, Tiger Tongues & the Ig Nobel Prize

May 10

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Professor David Hu

Fluid mechanics can show up in surprising places.  In the wetlands of Brazil, fire ants link their bodies together to form waterproof rafts.  These rafts are both liquid and solid, able to safely bounce off rocks or flow through branches.  When a tiger grooms itself, individual spatula on its tongue provide targeted cleaning to individual hairs.  A few years ago, a routine diaper change with my son led me to a new diagnostic tool for bladder health and the Ig Nobel Prize at Harvard University.  In this talk, I'll discuss how to turn daily observations into opportunities for worldwide engagement with science.


He has defended his work from a senator:


Videos of his work are here:


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.  He was awarded the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, and has defended basic research in a Scientific American article, Confessions of a wasteful scientist.  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.  His work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America, and Highlights for Children.  He is an editorial board member of Nature Scientific Reports and The Journal of Experimental Biology.  He lives with his wife Jia and children Harry and Heidi in Atlanta, Georgia.  He receives letters about urination on a daily basis.


Lunch will be served from 11:30 am  - 12:00 noon.