Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan conducted a study on sperm and came to an unusual conclusion: they do not respect one of the laws of physics. Scientists identified non-reciprocal mechanical interactions, which they called “individual elasticity.” The work was published in Hyatt PRX.
Violating the laws of physics
- Newton’s third law explains how the relationship between a physical body and the forces acting on it works.
- Scientists say: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
- But according to Japanese researchers, this rule does not necessarily apply to sperm.
- The information is from Science Alert.
How are sperm able to move?
According to the study, sperm use appendages called flagella to move. They protrude from the cell, almost like a tail, which helps propel them forward, changing shape as they interact with the fluid. However, during this movement, sperm do not elicit an equal and opposite response from the environment, violating Newton’s third law.
The researchers noted that the higher the degree of unique elasticity of the cell, the greater its ability to undulate without losing too much energy and thus move forward.
In addition to sperm, many microorganisms also contain flagella. The study suggests that this means there are likely other examples of violations of the laws of physics.
Scientists now want to understand and classify cells or other organisms capable of non-reciprocal movements. The findings could also help in the development of small self-assembling robots that mimic living materials, while modeling methods could be used to better understand the basic principles of collective behaviour.
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