Public Release: 

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

Highlights and media registration San Diego, California, Nov. 18-20, 2012

American Institute of Physics

The 65th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) will include more than 2,000 compelling presentations from across the physical sciences, engineering, and medicine.

The meeting will take place Nov. 18 - 20, 2012, at the San Diego Convention Center near the historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, Calif. Reporters are invited to attend the conference free of charge. Registration instructions and other information may be found at the end of this news release.

Preliminary Meeting Highlights


The Silent Flight of the Owl: Many species of owl rely on specialized plumage to reduce their noise levels and enable hunting in acoustic stealth. One particular feather arrangement is believed to mitigate the type of air turbulence that is the predominant source of noise.

Acoustic Lens to Boost Power: Acoustic waves are routinely used in ultrasonic imaging or hyperthermia surgery. To give these waves a boost, researchers have constructed an acoustic lens that focuses the waves' energy into so-called "sound bullets."

Surface Deformation and the 'Cheerios Effect': Small objects floating on the surface of a liquid tend to attract each other through capillary interactions, in a phenomenon dubbed the "Cheerios Effect." A series of experiments studied this phenomenon to gain new insights into self-assembly.

How the Venus Flytrap Actively Snaps: Although they lack muscles, plants have evolved a remarkable range of mechanisms to create rapid motion. The carnivorous Venus Flytrap, whose leaves snap together in a fraction of second to capture insects, has long been an object of study. Researchers provide new insights into their snapping mechanism.

Super-hydrophobic Coating for Aircraft Anti-Icing: Deicing an aircraft is necessary for safe flight operation. This can be done mechanically or with the use of deicing fluids, which need to be reapplied before every flight. A third option, applying a super-hydrophobic (water repellent) coating as anti-icing for an aircraft, is presented.


Measuring and Analyzing a Bird's Flight: To tackle the long-standing problem of precisely measuring shape and profiling of free-flying birds, researchers developed a technique to determine the shape of naturally textured surfaces.

The Soccer Knuckleball: A soccer ball kicked with a very low spin can exhibit a zigzag trajectory. These trajectories, called knuckleballs, are being studied to determine their cause.

Mosquito Flight Failure in Heavy Fog: Mosquitoes thrive during rainfall and high humidity, and can successfully fly through rainfall. But, just like modern aircraft, too much fog and a mosquito is grounded.

Suction Cups Aid in Tagging Marine Mammals: Securely and humanely tagging marine animals is important for research into their habits and habitats. New research indicates that suction cups can provide sufficient force to safely adhere tags to dolphins.

Penguin Huddle: To protect themselves from the elements, penguins huddle together, shifting their positions so the most exposed and least exposed eventually change location. A new model shows just how effective this strategy is at keeping penguins warm.


Mixing Water and Biofuels: Gasoline is now commonly combined with ethanol in an effort to reduce dependence on oil. But while alcohol blends easily with water, petroleum does not. New research explores how this combined liquid would behave during a spill.

Dust Settling in Protoplanetary Disks: New clues to planet formation: Planets start out as microscopic grains within protoplanetary disks of gas and dust in orbit around newly formed protostars. Researchers investigate what conditions trigger gravitational instability, causing dust and gas to clump together to form planetesimals, the building blocks of planets.

Using Simple Flows to Tie Knots in Flexible Fibers: Flexible fibers, such as DNA, have sometimes been found to contain knots. While such fibers are not -- strictly speaking -- closed knots, they exhibit similar characteristics. The formation of these "open knots" and the effects they have on material properties will be discussed.



The 65th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics will take place from November 18-20, 2012, in San Diego, Calif. It will bring together researchers from across the globe to address some of the most important questions in modern astronomy, engineering, alternative energy, biology, and medicine. All meeting information, including directions to the Convention Center, is at:


Main Meeting Web Site:

Searchable Abstracts:

Directions and Maps:


Credentialed full-time journalists and professional freelance journalists working on assignment for major publications or media outlets are invited to attend the conference free of charge. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, please contact Charles Blue (, 301-209-3091).


A media-support desk will be available. Press announcements and other news will be available in the Virtual Press Room (see below).


The APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room will be launched in mid-November and will feature news releases, graphics, videos, and other information to aid in covering the meeting on site and remotely. See:


Every year, the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics hosts posters and videos that show evocative images and graphics from either computational or experimental studies of flow phenomena. The outstanding entries are selected for their artistic content, originality, and ability to convey information. They will be honored during the meeting, placed on display at the 2013 APS March Meeting, and appear in the annual Gallery of Fluid Motion article in the American Institute of Physics' journal, Physics of Fluids.

Selected entries from the Gallery of Fluid Motion will be hosted as part of the Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room. In mid-November, when the Virtual Press Room is launched, another announcement will be sent out.

This release was prepared by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) on behalf of the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD).


The Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society (APS) exists for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of the Physics of Fluids with special emphasis on the dynamical theories of the liquid, plastic and gaseous states of matter under all conditions of temperature and pressure. See:

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