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Cornell Physics and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Mon 15 Jan 2018, 3:00pm SPECIAL
Institute of Applied Mathematics
ESB 2012
From Newton's Law to Neurons
ESB 2012
Mon 15 Jan 2018, 3:00pm-4:00pm


 Intended Audience: Public

Insects are first evolved to fly, and to fly is not to fall. How does an insect fly, why does it fly so well, and how can we infer its ‘thoughts’ from its flight dynamics? We have been seeking mechanistic explanations of the complex movement of insect flight. Starting from the Navier-Stokes equations governing the unsteady aerodynamics of flapping flight, we worked to build a theoretical framework for computing flight. This has led to new interpretations and predictions of the functions of an insect’s internal machinery that orchestrate its flight. I will discuss our recent computational and experimental studies of the balancing act of dragonflies and fruit flies: how a dragonfly recovers from falling upside-down and how a fly balances in air. In each case, the physics of flight informs us about the neural feedback circuitries underlying their fast reflexes.

Note for Attendees

There will be a reception before the talk in ESB 4133 (the PIMS lounge). This is a talk in the IAM/PIMS distinguished series.