As the global crop-circle phenomenon grows alongside advances in science and technology, Taylornotes how physics and the arts are coming together to produce more impressive and spectacular crop-circle patterns that still manage to maintain their mystery.
According to Richard Taylor (Right, physics professor and director of the University of Oregon Material Science Institute, who led an effort to design a fractal-based retinal implant to help return vision to the blind. Credit: Photo Jim Barlow) physics could potentially hold the answer, with crop-circle artists possibly using the Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as lasers and microwaves to create their patterns, dispensing with the rope, planks of wood and bar stools that have traditionally been used.
Microwaves, Taylor suggests, could be used to make crop stalks fall over and cool in a horizontal position – a technique that could explain the speed and efficiency of the artists and the incredible detail that some crop circles exhibit. Indeed, one research team claims to be able to reproduce the intricate damage inflicted on crops using a handheld magnetron, readily available from microwave ovens, and a 12 V battery.
As Taylor writes, “Crop-circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily. This summer, unknown artists will venture into the countryside close to your homes and carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history.”
Crop circle pictures Courtesy: UK Crop Circles: :http://www.ukcropcircles.co.uk/?page=crop-circles