Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Particle Whisperers: Mathematics Explains Why A Gentle Touch Works

Date:
May 5, 2008
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
As many parents know, it's often easier to keep your kids under control by exerting less authority rather than more. A child who fidgets uncontrollably in a confining booster seat, for example, may be perfectly content on a plain old chair. Physicists have found that the same is true in controlling the movement of particles suspended in liquids. What's more, they speculate that many microscopic systems, macroscopic ecosystems, and human social systems may respond to a gentle touch for the very same mathematical reasons.

As many parents know, it's often easier to keep your kids under control by exerting less authority rather than more. A child who fidgets uncontrollably in a confining booster seat, for example, may be perfectly content on a plain old chair. A team of physicists at the Universitat de Barcelona has found that the same is true in controlling the movement of particles suspended in liquids.

What's more, they speculate that many microscopic systems, macroscopic ecosystems, and human social systems may respond to a gentle touch for the very same mathematical reasons.

In order to test their hypothesis that heavy handedness can lead to loss of control, the researchers used optical tweezers to grab hold of floating microscopic beads. They then dragged the particles back and forth in the fluid as they ramped up the intensity of the lasers that formed the tweezers. As they expected, increasing laser power provided an ever tighter grip on captured particles, but only up to a point. Eventually, ramping up the laser led to a poorer control of the particles, which jostled around more and more as the laser intensity increased.

The experiment was consistent with a simple mathematical model that the researchers suggest could be helpful in optimizing all sorts of systems, from high-resolution microscopes to managed ecosystems such as national parks. It could even help mathematically explain why overly strict social policies may lead to chaos and revolution, and how iron-fisted fiscal policies can potentially drive economic systems to ruin.

This research by G. Volpe, S. Perrone, J. M. Rubi, and D. Petrov will be published in a forthcoming edition of Physical Review E.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physical Society. "The Particle Whisperers: Mathematics Explains Why A Gentle Touch Works." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505074759.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2008, May 5). The Particle Whisperers: Mathematics Explains Why A Gentle Touch Works. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505074759.htm
American Physical Society. "The Particle Whisperers: Mathematics Explains Why A Gentle Touch Works." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505074759.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins