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Riblets: 400 Million Years in the Making

Sharks have been around for over 400 million years, pre-dating the dinosaurs by some 200 million years. 400 million years is quite a time to perfect the swift swimming skills that make sharks one of the most efficient predators on the Earth. But it's not only technique that makes sharks fast. Their slippery streamlined shape helps to minimizes pressure drag, and a specialized skin layer (dermal denticles) minimizes skin friction drag and serves as the inspiration for riblets.

Visualization Award Secrets

As part of the recent "Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing" (SciDAC) conference, an evening was devoted to choosing the top 10 scientific visualizations of the year. This year Wired ran an article on the most recent award winners, which raised the awards' profile to the visualization world's equivalent of the Oscars. So what does it take to win visualization awards? Read on for my 'simple' 5-step plan.

WWII Stealthy Flying Wing

The Northrop Grumman B-2 is the epitome of a stealthy flying wing. However, a recent study has shown that the Horton Ho 229, a World War II (WWII) flying-wing prototype, also shared a number of characteristics with the B-2, including stealth - 45 years prior to the first flight of the B-2.

Science Museum: Formula 1

It's rare to find a recent Formula 1 (F1) car in a public museum, even rarer is to see an F1 car hanging upside down from the ceiling, yet you'll find both at the London Science Museum. Finally I'm at the end of my Science Museum grand tour - though it only took an afternoon in real time, it has spawned weeks worth of blog posts and covered a century of innovation - spanning computing, rockets, VTOL, British WWII Airplanes, wind tunnel models and now F1.

Science Museum: World War II Airplanes

On my recent visit to the London Science Museum, amongst computing, rockets and VTOL exhibits, I also came across some historic British airplanes in the Flight Gallery. In this post I'll focus on the World War II era airplanes that played a pivotal role in defending the skies above Britain.

Swimsuits Banned as 'Technology Doping'

FINA, the governing body of swimming, has banned the full-coverage, low-drag swimsuits that are credited with aiding swimmers in breaking nearly all the world swimming records in the last year or so. I discussed drag reduction and its application to swimming in the lead up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit was the garment of choice for all would-be champions. In Beijing all but a couple of the existing Olympic records survived the LZR clad swimmer onslaught. Records were not only broken - they were smashed by huge margins instead of following a relatively steady historical progression.

Science Museum: Wind Tunnel Models

In the days prior to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), wind tunnel testing was the primary method for assessing the performance of airplanes prior to actually building them. On my visit to the London Science Museum I noticed a number of wind tunnel models of historic significance that I'll share with you here.

Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?

After watching a recent stage of the Tour de France I started wondering; is there any reason from an aerodynamic and heat-transfer perspective, why cyclists shave their legs?

Science Museum: Vertical Takeoff and Landing

The London Science Museum houses some historic exhibits as I found out on my recent visit. I've already posted articles on computing and rockets. Next up I'll cover a series of exhibits that related to the world's first Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) fixed-wing jet fighter - the Harrier 'jump jet.'

Science Museum: Rockets and Space

Following my computing-themed post about my London Science Museum visit, it's time to move on to the rockets and space exhibits. Hold onto your hats, here we go.

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