CBE/ENGR 225 Seminar Presents: Itai Cohen, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Physics, Cornell University

Tues., January 23, 2018 @ 4pm in ESB #2001

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ESB #2001


*Light refreshments will be provided*

Itai Cohen, Ph.D.

Department of Physics

Cornell University 

Host: Sumita Pennathur

       Flight of the Fruit Fly 

ABSTRACT: There comes a time in each of our lives where we grab a thick section of the morning paper, roll it up and set off to do battle with one of nature’s most accomplished aviators - the fly. If however, instead of swatting we could magnify our view and experience the world in slow motion we would be privy to a world-class ballet full of graceful figure-eight wing strokes, effortless pirouettes, and astonishing acrobatics. After watching such a magnificent display, who among us could destroy this virtuoso? How do flies produce acrobatic maneuvers with such precision? What control mechanisms do they need to maneuver? More abstractly, what problem are they solving as they fly? In this talk I will discuss our strategy for investigating these questions and reveal some of the underlying mechanisms for flight maneuvers, wing actuation, and neural circuits governing flight stability. Finally, I will comment on the implications of these discoveries for investigations aimed at elucidating the evolution of flight.


Bio: Professor Itai Cohen is obsessed with matter in motion. At Cornell, his research has focused on investigating the behavior of microscopic and nanoscopic particles suspended in a fluid, exploring the mechanics of materials ranging from biological tissues to origami inspired metamaterials, discovering the mechanisms used by insects during flapping flight, and determining how Tango dancers and audiences at heavy metal concerts coordinate their movement. Understanding the out-of-equilibrium behaviors of these systems remains one of the biggest challenges in Physics.