Unexpectedly Intriguing!
10 September 2021

We're marking a unique achievement today, the development of which has eluded mathematicians, biologists, and fowl farmers for centuries: a universal formula for avian eggs!

Here's a diagram we created to mark the occassion, followed by the formula presented in a recently published paper by Valeriy G. Narushin, Michael N. Romanov, and Darren K. Griffin.

The Dimensioned Egg, based on photo by Jasmin Egger via Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/photos/PcGNb3QJjXI
Narushin (2021) et al. Universal Formula for Egg Shape

The press release issued by the University of Kent explains what's now possible because of the development of a universal formula for bird eggs:

This new formula is an important breakthrough with multiple applications including:

  1. Competent scientific description of a biological object. Now that an egg can be described via mathematical formula, work in fields of biological systematics, optimization of technological parameters, egg incubation and selection of poultry will be greatly simplified;
  2. Accurate and simple determination of the physical characteristics of a biological object. The external properties of an egg are vital for researchers and engineers who develop technologies for incubating, processing, storing and sorting eggs. There is a need for a simple identification process using egg volume, surface area, radius of curvature and other indicators for describing the contours of the egg, which this formula provides;
  3. Future biology-inspired engineering. The egg is a natural biological system studied to design engineering systems and state-of-the-art technologies. The egg-shaped geometric figure is adopted in architecture, such as London City Hall’s roof and the Gherkin, and construction as it can withstand maximum loads with a minimum consumption of materials, to which this formula can now be easily applied.

The "Gherkin" is the nickname of a visually distinctive building at 30 St. Mary Axe in London. The next time any architects want to make a building that looks like an egg, they'll finally have the math to make it happen!

References

Valeriy G. Narushin et al, Egg and math: introducing a universal formula for egg shape, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1111/nyas.14680. Ungated Preprint: BioRxiv (PDF Document).

Image Credit: Photo by Jasmin Egger on Unsplash, to which we added the dimensional annotations.

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