How Mathematics Uncovered the Dandelion’s Halo

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


What can mathematics tell us about the flight of nature’s tiniest fliers?

The equations of fluid mechanics describe how viscous fluids move. When these equations are applied to the flight of the dandelion seed, they give rise to a very peculiar fluid behaviour: a “halo” vortex. So peculiar in fact that such a vortex has never been observed before in nature. So is the halo vortex a quirk of the equations, or is it a quirk of nature?

Dr Cathal Cummins (Heriot-Watt) - whose research focuses on fluid mechanics of swirls, encompassing problems in biology, renewable energy, and beer - will show how equations predict the halo vortex and the implications for the flight of nature’s tiniest fliers .

The talk is suitable for adults and youngsters (age 10+) alike.
Period30 Sept 2021
Event titleMaths Week Scotland
Event typeExhibition
Degree of RecognitionNational