Cox analyzes geckos

By Drew Lash

Leland Cox ’09 was curious why geckos are able to stick on all types of surfaces. Cox chased his curiosity and decided to research this mysterious phenomenom known as the Casimir Force for his Studies in Scientific Research project.

The Casimir Force intrigued Cox because “the way geckos stick to things makes an interesting case for new types of adhesives,” Cox said.

The Casimir Force is a small attractive force that exists between two close, parallel uncharged plates. At incredibly small distances of only a few microns, the force is incredibly strong, and will cause the plates to come together.

“I made an acoustic analog apparatus, which is essentially a box with speakers and two metal plates in it with a mechanism that replicates the Casimir force using sound instead of electromagnetic oscillations,” Cox said.

Cox has been working on his acoustic analog of the Casimir Force for almost the entire school year, beginning the project during the second quarter of school.

“Making the box wasn’t that big of a problem, it’s just that it is really delicately balanced and hard to maintain,” Cox said. “The apparatus is so delicate and is so small that I had to use a laser to measure it.”

“It’s kind of cool being at a forefront of a field. It’s an area that is really at the cutting edge of physics and it’s really interesting to be investigating it,” Cox said.