HotAIR - MAY WE RECOMMEND -- Subtle Research Topics


Subtle Research Topics

items worth a trip to the library

by Stephen Drew, AIR staff

Each of these reports concerns some or another subtle insight into nature or into something else.

How To

"Dating in Exposed and Surface Contexts," Charlotte Beck (editor), University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1994. (Thanks to Robin Pearce for bringing this to our attention.)

All Things Considered

"Space Perception in the Chick," Eckhard H. Hess, Scientific American, July 1956.

Watching Paint Dry

"The Levelling of Paint Films," S.K. Wilson, IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 50, 1993, pp. 149-66. (Thanks to Tom Roberts for bringing this to our attention.) The author explains his work thusly:

"Using a brush to apply paint to a flat surface almost inevitably means that the bristles of the brush leave behind an uneven paint surface. As the paint dries out, these non-uniformities tend to flatten out to leave a protective and aesthetically pleasing even coating; however, experiments have shown that some solvent-based high-gloss alkyd paints can exhibit more unusual behaviour as they dry. In these experiments the initial rate of levelling was faster than that expected simply due to constant surface tension effects, and, much more unexpectedly, over a timescale of a few minutes the peaks of the original disturbance became troughs and vice versa. In this paper the author presents a mathematical model for the drying of a layer..."

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