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Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

Episode 502 - Ignobel prizes ’22 - Blind dates and Mother Ducks

September 26, 2022

We celebrate the Ignobel prizes for 2022 with science that makes you laugh and then think. What connects a Fish, ducks and slipstream racing? How do mother ducks manage to keep all their ducklings in tow? Does swimming in formation help the ducks save energy? What's the best spot in the slipstream to be? We all know following in the slipstream is good, but if you're 3 or more back you can literally get pulled along. Complex fluid mechanics makes swimming in a line a way for a mother duck to pull the ducklings along. What happens physically when you find someone who is a good match? Is eye contact or heart rate a better measure of having  a 'spark' with someone new?

  1. Wave-Riding and Wave-Passing by Ducklings in Formation Swimming,” Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 928, no. R2, 2021.
  2. “Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings,” Frank E. Fish, in the book Mechanics and Physiology of Animal Swimming, 1994, pp. 193-204.
  3. Physiological Synchrony is Associated with Attraction in a Blind Date Setting,” Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska E. Kret, Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 6, no. 2, 2022, pp. 269-278.