Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The gömböc, a weird self-righting three-dimensional solid

This is interesting, in a geeky kind of way. A Hungarian mathematician, Gabór Domokos, has found a solid, homogeneous, three-dimensional shape that only has two equilibrium points, one stable and one unstable. Previously, it had been thought that there could be no three-dimensional shape with fewer than four equilibrium points.
Because it has only one stable equilibrium point, the gömböc, as it is called (which may or may not mean "dumpling" in Hungarian), tends to self-right itself to the same position every time. And, interestingly, there are three species of turtles that have developed shells very similar to the gömböc, and indeed they use it to right themselves when they are flipped.

No comments: