Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How propellers work (a lament for great minds wasted)

In times of yore great scientists formulated brilliant theories and equations for the fundamental laws of fluid dynamics. These principles described everything from how water flows through our water pipes to how an airplane flies.

Given the tools available to them, our scientific forefathers did amazing work. But imagine if the brilliant minds of our past had had the computing power available to us today. Imagine Archimedes, DaVinci, Pascal, Newton, Bernoulli, or Prandtl with the benefit of even the most basic computing power within a standard pocket-sized cell phone.

If Archimedes, in 250BC, had had a cheap camera-equipped cell-phone, he could have filmed for himself the propellers outside his plane window, as we did on a recent flight to Portland.

With the help of modern technology, it would have been immediately obvious to Archimedes how propellers work. Eureka, indeed!

What a shame that computers weren’t available until recently. What a shame for all the time wasted by great minds slowly developing theories, formulas, & calculi.

P.S. More delightful pictures based on CMOS scan lag of cell cameras here.

No comments:

Post a Comment