University of Delaware

April 19: Applied mathematics seminar

Georgia Tech's David Hu to discuss 'wacky science' of animal movement

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8:21 a.m., April 14, 2016--David Hu will discuss his research on animal movement, and how it led him to win an Ig Nobel Prize for what he calls “wacky science,” at an applied mathematics seminar at the University of Delaware from 2-3 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, in 102 Gore Hall.

Hu, associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will speak on the topic “From Urination to Georgia Tech's First Ig Nobel Prize.” The talk, sponsored by UD’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, is free and open to the public.

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“Asking a new and sometimes strange question is arguably the most important step in advancing science, and not any less so if you study animal movement, a field at least as old as Leonardo da Vinci’s pioneering observations,” Hu says. “Asking questions is not only fun, but can also lead to unexpected scientific discoveries.”

The questions Hu has asked, and answered through research, include: How long does an elephant urinate? How quickly does a dog shake? How many eyelashes does a camel have? 

In his talk at UD, Hu said he will discuss his “journey with wacky science” and how it led him to win a 2015 Ig Nobel Prize, an annual award organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and presented at Harvard University by actual Nobel Prize winners.

Hu, who earned his doctorate in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published in Nature and Science, and his work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Good Morning America, Highlights for Children, the IMAX film Fire Ants 3D: The Invincible Army and recently on the NOVA series Gross Science. He is the author of The Science of Animal Motion, to be published by Princeton University Press this year.

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