The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, O is for Owl, the researchers using their wing structure to inspire aeroacoustic developments, and the lavish drawings of them found in one of the world's first ornithologies.
A newly-designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and even planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.
New research indicates that a bird’s ability to detect changes in air pressure is the evolutionary remnant of an ancient sense organ found in sharks and sturgeons.