Just a Matter of Line!


Science of Surprises !!

We, in India, spend good part of our life for what we call education, and we are also aware that most of the Indians study conventional subjects which is just not enough to get even a nice decent job. The conventional studies cover everything obvious, we just do not think out of box.

Confused ? Let me take you back to class 5th geometry to make it clear. O’do not skip! I am not going to mess up with some complex formula, numericals, molecular physics. What I want to tell you is damn interesting.

Line Figure to give you shock below.

We can draw a circle by rotating a rigid body (such as a pair of compasses) around a fixed point. Without it, we can not draw a perfect circle. Right?

Now tell me, how do we draw a straight line? Your obvious answer will come like… with the help of a ruler or with an object having straight edge. Right.

But, if we are to draw a straight line with a ruler, the ruler must itself have a straight edge; and how are we going to make the edge straight? Perfectly straight. Did you ever give it a thought? No, because it look like obvious, yet it is not.

We come back to our starting-point. So, can’t we draw a perfectly straight line? Of course, we can, but it is not as simple and easy as we would think little earlier.

We can do it by using the ‘Kempe’s solution’ which is the Peaucellier–Lipkin linkage, an ingenious mechanism that was invented in 1864 by the French army engineer Charles-Nicolas Peaucellier, forgotten, and rediscovered by a Russian student named Yom Tov Lipman Lipkin.

In the figure above, the colors denote bars of equal length. The green and red bars form a linkage called a Peaucellier cell. Adding the blue links causes the red rhombus to flex as it moves. A pencil fixed at the outer vertex of the rhombus will draw a straight line.

James Sylvester introduced Peaucellier’s discovery to England in a lecture at the Royal Institution in January 1874, which Kempe says, “excited very great interest and was the commencement of the consideration of the subject of linkages in this country.”

Sylvester writes that when he showed a model of the linkage to Lord Kelvin, he “nursed it as if it had been his own child, and when a motion was made to relieve him of it, replied ‘No! I have not had nearly enough of it — it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.”

And, this is called thinking out of box. Agree? If yes, I will say, ‘What, didn’t you know how to draw a accurate straight line ?”

…shabab khan’s blog

About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media house. Twitter: @khantastix khansworld@rediffmail.com
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