Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Thursday, April 5, 2007


I just love the huge variety of stuff people study and write papers about. Point in case, I was just glancing through my citation alerts, and found the following gem in Physical Review Letters E:

Shape and erosion of pebbles
Authors: Durian, DJ; Bideaud, H; Duringer, P; Schroder, AP; Marques, CM
PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 75 (2) 1301-1301, Part 1; FEB 2007

I find it absolutely amazing that people are studying the curvature of pebbles. Don't get me wrong, I am all for it - I am just happy to live in a world where you can read stuff like this.

For the curious among you, here is the abstract:

The shapes of flat pebbles may be characterized in terms of the statistical distribution of curvatures measured along their contours. We illustrate this method for clay pebbles eroded in a controlled laboratory apparatus, and also for naturally occurring rip-up clasts formed and eroded in the Mont St.-Michel bay. We find that the curvature distribution allows finer discrimination than traditional measures of aspect ratios. Furthermore, it connects to the microscopic action of erosion processes that are typically faster at protruding regions of high curvature. We discuss in detail how the curvature may be reliably deduced from digital photographs.

Also, a photo of pebbles and stuff, taken at the Bambouzairie in the Cevennes.

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