February 13, 2012

"The Ponytail Shape Equation represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hairs in a ponytail...."

"It provides new understanding of how a bundle is swelled by the outward pressure which arises from collisions between the component hairs. Together with a new mathematical quantity known as the Rapunzel Number, the equation can - they say - be used to predict the shape of any ponytail.... This will resonate with some in the computer graphics and animation industry, where a realistic representation of hair and fur has proven a tough challenge."

BBC reports.

18 comments:

edutcher said...

They can't figure a way to get Europe out of hock, but they have time for this?

Peter said...

What's this about hair?

edutcher said...

It gives a woman flavor.

William said...

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be young" I don't know the very heaven of being young at this fulcrum moment in world history, but I'm just glad I was here to see it. Info like this will someday lead us to understand the mystery of Donald Trump's hair-- although that's still a long way off.

EMD said...

Thank god ... my bucket list just got shorter.

EDH said...

"It's a remarkably simple equation," explained Prof Raymond Goldstein, who is the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems at Cambridge University.

Yes, I'm guessing that mathematically modelling back, ass, ear and nose hair would be infinitely more complex.

Matthew said...

I always understood pony tails' shape to be based on original hair length and curly-ness.

Not very scientific, but if they just did that, they'd probably have saved a lot of time. Though, I guess hair physicists don't have a lot of other problems to solve.

rhhardin said...

Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown link

rhhardin said...

Great, but they don't give the simple equation they tout, which is typical for news media.

It would put women off.

Jess said...

Doesn't James Taranto usually report items like this under The Lonely Lives of Scientists heading?

The Unknown Pundit said...

This is good news. Now thousands of hairstylists can quit their research in this area and concentrate on their styling skills.


wv: scons

roystgnr said...

Actually, edutcher, the entertainment industry already figured out how to fix Europe's problems.

Unknown said...

Truly a candidate for the Annals of Improbable Research's Ignobole Award for Mathematics;

(No Name) said...

I like it when the ponytail is up high, like Jeannie on "I Dream Of Jeannie"

Rich Vail said...

I had hoped that it was a satirical piece...until I followed the link. Ummm...while it is the Beeb...aren't there other things that are useful that could be studied. Wasn't that a waste of funds?

Suburbanbanshee said...

So... mathematically ignorant people, ignorant because they aren't interested in math, fail to be interested in a math problem. No news there.

But then you actually think your boredom constitutes a reason for mathematicians not to do their job.

Yeah... I'm not interested in law, so Althouse shouldn't have a job? I'm not interested in cars, so they should magically disappear to suit my interests?

Sweet pure reason and the glory of God are plenty of reason to do intellectual work. But.

Any time that mathematicians find a new equation describing the shape of things in the real world, it turns out to have plenty of real world applications once the engineers get hold of it. If you've never noticed this before, notice it now.

You don't have to be interested, but you don't have to get in the way of people who are.

Suburbanbanshee said...

And no, I'm not a mathematician. I just have survival instincts, like a sensible person who likes civilization to continue, and not to die horribly in a world of ignorance and incompetence.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Here's the journal synopsis. It says it's a fluid mechanics equation. If you want more, you gotta buy the article -- or go to a university library to read their article database.

http://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.078101

Obligatory notice that academic article lack of access is annoying.