Re: Tensegrity and Singularities (was: Tipler In An Open Universe)

CurtAdams (
Thu, 22 Jan 1998 01:52:04 EST

In a message dated 1/21/98 1:00:34 PM, wrote:

>Check out the cover story of the Jan 1998 Scientific
>American at
>It's called "The Architecture of Life" and Donald
>Ingber describes his work at the MIT Center for
>Bioengineering on applications of the architectural
>principles of 'tensegrity' to biology. The point that
>I find most relevant to singularities comes at the
>article's conclusion where Ingber speculates: "the
>fact that our expanding (tensing) universe contains
>huge filaments of gravitationally linked galaxies and
>isolated black holes that experience immense
>compressive forces locally can only lead us to
>wonder. Perhaps there is a single underlying theme to
>nature after all." In other words, tensegrity seems
>to apply from the cell all the way up to the
>structure of the universe.

Phew! how could I have missed that one?

While "tensegrity" is an interesting concept, and probably
does have something to do with how cells hang together,
that article was lacking in scientific rigor, to put
it mildly. At one point the scientist takes a model
of, I believe, 3 sticks and 6 strings, pushes it on
some plastic, and sees some ripples in the plastic.
This is presented as conclusive evidence that tensegrity
explains how cells work. Good grief.

He even overstates the case for tensegrity in cells.
Humans cells, other than blood cells, generally can't
maintain their shape by themselves. They must get
some outside thing to provide most of the support
against compression.