Tail Spin

Actors Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone flaunt it often,though neither’s looks the same — the ponytail that is.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Published: February 27, 2012 12:31 am

Actors Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone flaunt it often,though neither’s looks the same — the ponytail that is. The way the casual and fun hairstyle looks might have a lot to do with science. Physicists claim to have developed a simple equation that explains and predicts the shape of a ponytail.

The new equation,according to the researchers,also takes into account the stiffness of hair,the effects of gravity and the presence of random curliness or waviness. Interestingly,the work,published in the journal Physical Review Letters,could help scientists better understand natural materials,such as wool and fur. “It’s a remarkably simple equation,” Dr Raymond Goldstein of Cambridge University was quoted as saying by the BBC News. According to the physicist,their findings showed how physics could be used to “solve a problem that has puzzled scientists and artists ever since Leonardo da Vinci remarked on the fluid-like streamlines of hair in his notebooks 500 years ago”.

Professor Goldstein worked on the equation with professor Robin Ball from the University of Warwick and Patrick Warren,from Unilever’s Research and Development Centre. The “Ponytail Shape Equation”,they say,represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hair in a ponytail. It provides a new understanding of how a bundle is swelled by the outward pressure,which arises from collisions between the component hair,they note.

The research will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the American Physical Society,in Boston,later this month.

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