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3.A24 Freshman Seminar: The Engineering of Birds, Fall 2004

Stick nest of the green heron.
Stick nest of the green heron. (Image courtesy of Sira Sriswasdi.)

Highlights of this Course

This course features a reading list and related background documentation that students received in class.

» Watch a video introduction featuring the course instructor.
Prof. Lorna Gibson (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

Course Description

Why are things in nature shaped the way they are? How do birds fly? Why do bird nests look the way they do? How do woodpeckers peck? These are the types of questions Dr. Lorna Gibson's freshman seminar at MIT has been investigating. We invite you to explore with us.

Questions such as these are the subject of biomimetic research. When engineers copy the shapes found in nature we call it Biomimetics. The word biomimic comes from bio, as in biology and mimetic, which means to copy.

Technical Requirements

RealOne™ Player software is required to run the .rm files on this page.



Prof. Lorna Gibson

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2 hours / session




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