Ponytail physics winner of Ig Nobel Prize comes to Leeds

11 October 2012

A team of physicists from the UK and USA have come up with an equation to predict the shape of a ponytail, and earned themselves an Ig Nobel prize.

Ponytail lady

The equation takes into account the stiffness of the hair fibres on the head, the effects of gravity and the presence of the random curliness or waviness that is ubiquitous in human hair to model how a ponytail is likely to behave. Together with a new quantity the team calls the Rapunzel Number, the equation can be used to predict the shape that hair will take when it is drawn behind the head and tied together.

The work was published in Physical Review Letters this year ‘Shape of a Ponytail and the Statistical Physics of Hair Fiber Bundles’.

To learn more about this work, come along to an Institute of Physics public lecture at the University of Leeds by one of the authors of the paper, Prof Patrick Warren.


Monday 19 November - 19:00-20:00

Western Lecture Theatre, Business School, University of Leeds

This event is free and open to the public.

More information can be found at the website: http://www.physics.leeds.ac.uk/home/ponytail.html



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