Thursday, March 24, 2016

Johan Cruyff

The Dutch Master - coaching.

So Johan Cruyff passed on today.  He wasn't the greatest soccer player ever. Only maybe the fourth or fifth greatest (!). But if you combine his playing prowess with his coaching career (he made Barcelona great)  he's definitely Number One Of All Time.  He was always My Number One anyway. Simply because of one quote, that Jerome Baudry reminded me of today:

"Technique is not being able to juggle a ball 1000 times. Anyone can do that by practicing. Then you can work in the circus. Technique is passing the ball with one touch, with the right speed, at the right foot of your team mate"

You see, I can pass the ball pretty well, always could. But for the life of me I can't juggle the cursed thing. So I really appreciate Cruyff's vision. Lets me off, you see. Flashy young teenage jugglin' show-offs be damned!......

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Creepy-Crawly Biophysics

Mojave Shovel-Nosed Snake: shovels through the sand

We do molecular biophysics. But although biological molecules are incredibly interesting and useful to understand, physicists can also look at larger things - cells, organs, and how whole organisms move.

So check this out. It's Dan Goldman's  "CRAB" lab (Complex Rheology And Biomechanics) at Georgia Tech. They study lizards (cute), crabs (ouch), cockroaches (yuck) and snakes (lovely) and ask how they move on tricky stuff like sand, bark, leaves and grass.

Now I thought that the basic principles of snake locomotion had been worked out a long time ago, by, among others, the great Nicolas Rashevsky, but, apparently there's more to learn, especially when one takes into accounts physics of the terrestrial substrates as well. Recently Goldman's lab figured out how sidewinders manage to get up steep sand slopes.

Cute stuff - creepy-crawly biophysics.