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The fluid dynamics of paint


Watch how fluid physics produces complex abstract art.


To mark its upcoming annual conference, the Fluid Dynamics Division of the American Physical Society has released a series of short videos illustrating aspects of the discipline.

And if that sounds a trifle dull, think again. The videos, all made by prominent researchers in the field, are winners of prestigious APS/DFD Milton van Dyke awards, chosen from a wide range of entries submitted to last year’s conference.

There are several to be viewed on the APS website. One of the most fascinating, made by a team led by Randi Hurd of Utah State University, demonstrates the fluid physics behind the colourful abstracts of well known US painter Holton Rower.

The next time someone tries to tell you that art and science are separate and mutually exclusive domains, just show them this Hurd-Rower collaboration, and watch them shut up.


The 2017 Fluid Dynamics annual meeting will be held between November 19 and 21, in Denver, Colorado.

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Andrew Masterson is news editor of Cosmos.
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