To avoid system errors, if Chrome is your preferred browser, please update to the latest version of Chrome (81 or higher) or use an alternative browser.
Click here to login if you're an NAE Member
Recover Your Account Information
Download File (mp3)
Please upgrade to a newer browser.
Randy Atkins: Surprisingly, the way flowers bloom was a bit of a mystery. So Harvard professor Mahadevan, an applied mathematician, looked at it with an engineer’s eye and noticed the wrinkled edges on lily petals. Then he peeled back an un-bloomed bud and…
Prof. Mahadevan: …found that the petals start to have wrinkled edges even before they have been exposed, suggesting that the edges are growing earlier than the rest of the petal.
Randy Atkins: Mahadevan proved this with experiments and showed that this uneven growth causes petals to break away from the bud.
Prof. Mahadevan: Our explanation transcends the specific instance of the blooming flower.
Randy Atkins: So it may provide ideas for useful new engineering designs. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.