Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid? A physics paper explores this question, using a special number called the “Deborah number”. We explore that physics paper, in this week’s Improbable Research podcast.
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This week, Marc Abrahams teams up with fluid dynamicist Nicole Sharp, creator of FYFD, the internet’s most popular site about fluid dynamics. Sharp accompanies her dramatic readings from the study:
- “On the Rheology of Cats,” Marc-Antoine Fardin, Rheology Bulletin, vol. 83, no. 2, July 2014, pp. 16-17 and 30.
- Rheology, the study of how things (liquids, for example) flow.
- The Deborah number.
- BONUS [not discussed in the podcast]: Karen Brulliard reports, in the Washington Post, on the history of scientists analyzing falling cats. (Also: many years ago we published a fictional take on the question “Does a Cat Always Land on Its Feet?“)
Here’s a bit of detail from the study:
The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.
The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS Play.it web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).