Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Silly Proofs

Talking the Walk in academe:

Almost four decades after John Cleese performed his "silly walks" sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus, mathematicians have concluded that they are, indeed, silly.

The sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, where Cleese plays the Minister of Silly Walks, first aired in 1970 and became a comedy classic for its daft satire of the civil service.

Now , in the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical and Engineering Sciences, a detailed mathematical analysis of walking and running is given by Dr Manoj Srinivasan of Princeton University and Professor Andy Ruina of Cornell University, New York that sheds new light on the silly walk.

The team explores two legged movement to see why humans like to simply walk and run, rather than adopt stranger ways of moving around. After 19 pages of detailed workings, the team concludes that walking and running are the most efficient forms of two legged locomotion, which will be of interest to engineers studying how to make robots move efficiently.

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