Wheel Theory

This morning, my local paper ran this interesting story about Duke professor Adrian Behan’s constructal theory—basically, the concept that wheels exist throughout nature and serve as an underlying mechanism for our motion. (Read much more at constructal.org.) It’s interesting stuff applicable both to yoga and to endurance sports, where efficiency is everything and where an off-balance system is doomed to eventual failure.

I’d take exception, though, with Bejan’s statement that “taller runners run faster.” Perhaps it’s out of context and refers instead to taller runners in evolutionary history, but I’m sure we all know shorter runners who demonstrate more efficiency than their taller peers. Sometimes, you can almost see the wheels in action.

Check out the article for some interesting ideas about how nature reaches compromises, finding the balance between apparently competing needs.

One Response to “Wheel Theory”

  1. Adrian Bejan says:

    Thank you very much for your comments.

    Regarding the effect of size on speed in sports (running, swimming), our constructal-law prediction is that the fastest athletes will continue to emerge from among the bigger, i.e. the taller. The constructal law predicts the evolution of the design of speed sports (toward faster and faster bodies), not the evolution of the individual athlete, small or large.

    Our articles on predicting sports evolution are posted at http://www.constructal.org

    Adrian Bejan
    Duke University

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