by Katie the Lowly Intern
Researchers at Cambridge University have debunked the long standing myth that freshwater algae can’t dance. Volvox, while sounding like a herpes medication for mad scientists, is a spherical algae organism made up of only about 1,000 cells. They get their swerve from their flagella (think sperm tails) which they wag around until they create a flow of fluid. This flow of fluid causes them to stay in bound movements with each other; one movement being called a “waltz” and the other a “minuet.” Scientists think that the oscillating dance moves make it easier for the microorganism to fertilize their foxy Volvox partner.
swing yer half a millimetre in diameter partner ’round
Professor Raymond E. Goldstein, the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) said: “These striking and unexpected results remind us not only of the grace and beauty of life, but also that remarkable phenomena can emerge from very simple ingredients.”
Mathematicians are very easily amused.
Take a look at these videos if you’re looking for ways to freshen up your moves, Volvox style. I know mine have become a bit stale.