Gazing inside a twisted seashell at the beach can be a dodgy endeavor. Depending on the location of discovery, one might find a hermit crab, a snail, or some other creature freaky enough to make you drop the object and run away. But what if the next time you gaze upon a seashell you see humans instead of a crunchy sea bug? This idea isn't so crazy, according to University of Minnesota civil engineering Professor Roberto Ballarini. At this week's Café Scientifique, those interested can drink 'n' think about how seashells can be used to create naturally strong structures such as buildings and bridges. Ballarini will also discuss the seashell's role in biologically inspired design.
Tue., Dec. 11, 6 p.m., 2007