Observatory - Filming the Flight of a Winged Maple Seed - NYTimes.com
- An acorn may not fall far from the tree, itâ€™s true, but the same canâ€™t be said for a maple seed, with its distinctive wing shape. As it falls, the heavier nut end of the wing causes it to whirl in the air, slowing its descent and allowing the wind to carry the seed, sometimes as far as a mile or more. Studies have shown that the seed’s whirling, called auto-rotation, gives it extra lift, but why this occurs has never been explained. It took an aerospace engineer, David Lentink of the Wagenigen University in the Netherlands, to figure it out.