A science movie competition

Last weekend, a host of engi­neers from around the region flooded campus for the annual New Eng­land Work­shop on the Mechanics of Mate­rials and Struc­tures. In addi­tion to a pretty great line up of speakers (including Markus Buehler of MIT who, along with North­eastern prof Steve Cran­ford helped coin the term “bio­ma­te­ri­omics”), the event held a movie com­pe­ti­tion, wherein researchers had 60 sec­onds to present pieces of their work to the com­mu­nity, using nothing but beau­tiful moving images.

As the work­shop web­site says, “movies have become an inte­gral part of the arsenal of instru­ments used to com­mu­ni­cate sci­en­tific research.” The “Gallery of Mechanics,” as the NEW.Mech crew calls this sci­en­tific instal­la­tion, which debuted at Brown Uni­ver­sity last year, nodded to the increasing role of mul­ti­media in sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tions to give the com­mu­nity a “glimpse of the future.”

Below, enjoy the three win­ners as chosen by the work­shop judges, along with a spe­cial bonus video, chosen by yours truly:


Hon­or­able Men­tion from iNSo­lu­tion: Explo­sive Dehis­cence of Jew­el­weed Seed Cap­sule by Isaac Bruss of UMass Amherst


3rd Place: A Cahn type phase field theory for species dif­fu­sion with large elastic defor­ma­tion, by Claudio di Leo of MIT


2nd Place: Cre­ation of sac­ri­fi­cial bonds by a vis­cous flow insta­bility, by Fred­erick Gos­selin & Renaud Passieux of Ecole Politech­nique de Mon­treal

And before I reveal the grand prize winner, some other stats about this year’s NEW.Mech meeting:

  • Invited talks: 4
  • Contributed talks:  32
  • Posters: 36
  • Participants: >200

I’m told the event was quite a suc­cess, so stay tuned for more info on indi­vidual research projects that were pre­sented by mem­bers of the North­eastern community.


1st Place: Soap film exper­i­ment to study syn­chro­nized waving of grass, by Ravi Sigh of Brown Uni­ver­sity