The Definitive Paper on the Physics of Cats

Here's the definitive paper on the physics of cats.

It investigates a profound scientific mystery that has kept all of us up at night: Are cats solid or liquid?

On the Rheology of Cats, by fluid dynamicist Marc-Antoine Fardin, then of the Universite' de Lyon and the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon and now at the Institut Jacques Monod at the Universite' de Paris Diderot. His interest seems to be applying fluid dynamical principles to soft matter such as biological materials.

published in the Rheology Bulletin, 83(2) July 2014

Winner of the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics!

Fardin discusses the differences between solids and liquids in layman's terms here:

[Image: 980x.jpg]

Cats are thus liquid if we give them the time to become liquid. In rheology, the state of a material is not really a fixed property – what must be measured is the relaxation time. [...] What cats show clearly is that determining the state of a material requires comparing two time periods: the relaxation time and the experimental time, which is the time elapsed since the onset of deformation initiated by the container. For instance, it may be the time elapsed since the cat stepped into a sink. Conventionally, one divides the relaxation time by the experimental time, and if the result is more than 1, the material is relatively solid; if the result is lower than 1, the material is relatively liquid. This is referred to as the Deborah number, after the biblical priestess who remarked that on geological time scales (“before God”) even mountains flowed. On shorter time scales one can see glaciers progressively flowing down valleys.

Well, if that's the label-source for the Deborah number, then for the sake of Biblically complementarity with the only female judge mentioned in the NT, maybe they should give "relaxation time" and "experimental time" the code names of Sisera duration and Jael duration, respectively. What would be more relaxing after the act than having a tent peg driven into the skull (granting that death fully ensued)?


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