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posted by martyb on Thursday January 13, @01:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the To-see-a-world-in-a-grain-of-sand-and-corn-dancing-on-a-stove dept.

Some dynamic systems can develop multi-periodicity, meaning that some parameter, such as a mechanical oscillation, can switch between different vibrational frequencies or amplitudes. For instance, a small-scale disturbance is coupled into a large-scale one.

This has been observed in muscle motion, laser stability, seismic motion, etc, and there is much to understand about these couplings in chaotic systems. Initiated by an apparent diversion from pandemic boredom, Promode Bandyopadhya noticed that when shucked cobs of corn were placed on a glasstop hotplate, the cob oscillates autonomously about three axes with varying amplitudes and frequencies that shifted randomly with time. He videoed ears of corn as well as a number of other smooth fruits on a hot surface and extracted their motion over time. His results are summarized in a tour de force of mechanical dynamics in a Nature Scientific Reports paper. He observed that corn cobs roll, pitch, and yaw, but green chilies, blueberries, tropical berries, red grapes, oblong grapes and grape tomatoes only roll and yaw.

Autonomous thrust oscillations are difficult to design in a laboratory, however we have discovered that the seven types of fruit offer a new test bench.

Details and videos of his dynamical systems kitchen laboratory observations are provided as a Google Drive Link.

Journal Reference:
Promode R. Bandyopadhyay. Multistable autonomous motion of fruit on a smooth hotplate [open], Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-03859-8)


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by hubie on Thursday January 13, @07:35PM

    by hubie (1068) on Thursday January 13, @07:35PM (#1212493) Journal

    If I was asked to take a stab at guessing your age, I would put you at under-40. The reason being that the experiment you've described was common standard operating procedure in the 90s and earlier (well, not quantifying it). Actually, I'll say mainly the 90s when decent and relatively affordable copier machines were available, but before PostScript and PDFs took over. Before that, copies were made using photostats and mimeograph machines [nyu.edu]. The quality of the first copy wasn't too bad (mimeographs were worse), but when you got into making copies from copies, it could get ugly fast. Probably my favorite example of this is the original Pons and Fleishmann cold fusion experiment announcement. The "preprint" for that exploded around the world, basically via fax machine. So institutions would receive a fax, then that would get re-faxed to N other places as well as M copies of it made, so you had faxes of faxes of copies of faxes, etc. I was in graduate school at the time and even I have a copy of that preprint somewhere. I recall my copy being pretty ugly too, with skewed pages and such. I also recall how exciting the news was at the time. It is really special to be in the right environment when something like that happens. I was also lucky to be in school when room temperature superconductors were announced.

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