A Straight Rod Passing Through Curved Hole

How can you pass a straight rod through a curved hole? No, neither of the two are pliable. This demonstration at the Science Museum in Valencia, Spain, shows you in just a few seconds. This reminded me of a hyperboloid, which I discovered when writing about math shapes.

What mathematicians call a hyperboloid of one sheet is a really cool structure that is made up of many (actually an infinite number) of perfectly straight lines that look to us like a curved structure. First, imagine that you have a cube. Stand it on one of its corners and spin it like a top, then look at it from the side -the sides seem to be curved, but you know they aren't. Now, take a handful of uncooked spaghetti noodles. Use two hands, and twist the strands loosely. It forms the shape of a hyperboloid structure, which looks like a cooling tower at a nuclear reactor. All the spaghetti noodles are still straight, but the shape of the handful is curved. In architecture, this idea enables builders to produce curved structures by using straight line supports.

The museum display is the same thing, only they are using one straight support in motion instead of an infinite number to build a structure. The animation here helps to connect the two concepts. -via Viral Viral Videos

(Image credit: Cmapm)

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