BOB HIRSHON (host):
Cartoon science. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Modern animation software, like that used in Hollywood, uses computer models to create life-like imagery and motion. Wyss Institute founder and bioengineer Don Ingber and biophysicist Charles Reilly were using the software to make an entertaining film about sperm on a mission to fertilize an egg. Ingber says they kept building the sperm’s tail with different configurations of protein molecules until the animated sperm swam convincingly.
DON INGBER (Wyss Institute):
So you triangulate in on a new view of reality. And then in the end you can visualize it so anyone can appreciate the beauty and wonder of how life works.
In the journal ACS Nano, they report that the tail design that worked for the film, turns out to be the most likely explanation of how real sperm swim — helping to solve a longstanding mystery. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon