Particles Surf Their Own Waves, Reveal How Microbes and Cells Move Through Human Body

Simons Foundation, September 2018

Surf’s up for microbes swimming beside red blood cells. New calculations and experiments model for the first time how spherical particles submerged in gooey liquid travel along a flexible rubber sheet; comparable conditions are common in the human body, such as blood cells flowing through a capillary or the journeys of self-propelled microbes. (Although blood isn’t particularly viscous, at microscopic scales its effective viscosity is high.) All these particles, it turns out, catch a wave.