Sperm ignore Newton’s third law; see what the researchers say

The extraordinary journey of sperm has fascinated humanity for centuries, defying the laws of biology — and, why not say, those of physical? A recent scientific study has shed light on this intriguing question, suggesting that sperm, in their relentless pursuit of fertilization, defy the fundamental rules of the matter.

Researchers at Kyoto University, in Japan, conducted a study on sperm and discovered that these cells do not respect a law of physics due to non-reciprocal mechanical interactions, which they call unique elasticity. The results of the study were published in the journal PRX Lifebut you can also check it out here!

Researchers reveal that sperm surpass the laws of physics

Image: Christoph Burgstedt/Shutterstock/Reproduction

The study reveals that sperm use flagella to move, which act like tails and propel them through interactions with the fluid. Surprisingly, during this process, sperm do not generate an equal and opposite response in the environment, defying the third Newton’s law.

The greater the unique elasticity of a sperm, the more effective its ability to move forward with undulations without losing energy.

Newton’s third law, also known as the Principle of Action and Reaction, states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This means that, in any interaction between two bodies, the first exerts a force on the second and, in response, the second exerts a force of equal magnitude, but in the opposite direction, on the first.

This law describes how forces are always pairs and act in opposite directions, maintaining the balance of actions in the physical universe.

In addition to sperm, many other microorganisms have flagella, which suggests the possibility of other violations of the laws of physics.

Researchers are now seeking to identify other cells and organisms that exhibit non-reciprocal movements. This could have applications in creating autonomous robots that mimic living materials and improving understanding of collective behavior through modeling methods.

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