Can Physics Explain Mysteries of Crop Circles? - FoxNews.com
Can Physics Explain Mysteries of Crop Circles?
Published August 01, 2011
crop circle Indonesia
People watch a 70-meter-wide crop-circle that appeared recently in a
rice field in Indonesia. Could physics have the explanation?
Science and UFOs, as a rule, generally don't go together.
UFOs and crop circles, however, go together like the Illuminati and the
dark side of the moon. Crop circles and science? Again, not so much. But
that doesn't mean the ever-increasing sophistication of corn circlework
isn't beyond impressing top physicists.
In this month's edition of Physics World, Richard Taylor, director of
the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, claims
every summer brings with it more mystery as to how the produce-punishing
pranksters ply their trade.
"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
While that might be a bit of a blow for those think there's a better
place out there, Taylor says the technology behind the global
crop-circle phenomenon is still well-deserving of admiration.
Today's designs are more complex than ever, he says, with some featuring
up to 2,000 different shapes.
Mathematical analysis has revealed the use of construction lines,
invisible to the eye, that are used to create the patterns.
The difference today is that where crop-circlers once used ropes, planks
of wood and bar stools, high tech has taken over: GPS helps a lot, he
says. Lasers also have their place.
But the most innovative modern technique involves using microwaves to
force corn stalks to fall over and cool horizontally. One research team
claims to have reproduced damage inflicted on crops by using a handheld
magnetron ripped from a microwave ovens and a 12V battery.
The microwave technique could explain the speed and efficiency of the
artists and the incredible detail that some crop circles exhibit, Taylor
Hang on -- bar stools?
And another question -- why does an academic feel the need to get caught
up in the world of alien landing conspiracies?
Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World, said Taylor was "merely trying
to act like any good scientist -- examining the evidence for the design
and construction of crop circles without getting carried away by the
side-show of UFOs, hoaxes and aliens."