Science & Tech

Scientists discover that sperm can ‘defy the laws of physics’

Scientists discover that sperm can ‘defy the laws of physics’
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Sperm can “defy the laws of physics”, according to new research.

The laws of motion have helped us to comprehend the behaviours of the natural world for centuries, but sperm appears to go against one of the laws set down by Isaac Newton.

Kenta Ishimoto and his fellow mathematical scientists from Kyoto University have revealed new research which suggests that sperm actually display qualities which don't follow Newton’s third law of motion.

Science enthusiasts will know that the third law states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

However, sperm seems to go against this.

According to their research, the tails of sperm known as “flagella” have an “odd elastic” quality which makes them able to travel through viscous fluids without losing much energy.

While scientists would normally expect them to be slowed down by the viscous fluids, they’re able to propel themselves forward much easier than researchers would have predicted – and seemingly avoid coming into contact with an equal and opposite reaction.

"From solvable simple models to biological flagellar waveforms for Chlamydomonas and sperm cells, we studied the odd-bending modulus to decipher the nonlocal, nonreciprocal inner interactions within the material,” the team behind the study said.

"Odd elasticity is not a generic term for activity in solids, but rather a well-defined physical mechanism that generates active forces in solids or in other systems in which a generalized elasticity can be defined without using an elastic potential."

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