This year’s Opening Lecture & Awards will offer a humorous but thought-provoking look at what the rheumatology community can learn from a different part of the scientific community.
David L. Hu, PhD, BSME, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biology and an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, will share some of the discoveries revealed in his book, How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls, during the lecture. The session will take place from 4:30 – 6:15 PM in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom, located in Building B of the Georgia World Congress Center.
In the Hu Laboratory for Biolocomotion, Dr. Hu and his team study the fundamental problems of hydrodynamics and elasticity that relate to problems in biology. He studies how all creatures move on any type of surface, asking some fundamental questions that others haven’t considered asking before. While much of the work has direct impact on robotics in areas such as minimally invasive surgery and space exploration, it also has generated interest in the biology and engineering fields.
“You never know from where a breakthrough will come. Sometimes, it’s in the most mundane place and then you go, ‘Wow, this is the answer to that. And that’s what’s so beautiful and exciting about science. I wanted a speaker who would remind us of the fundamental curiosity which triggers scientific questions and the intellectual fun of discovering their answers. I wanted us to be able to step back and think about science in an almost philosophical way,” said ACR President Paula Marchetta, MD, MBA.
Lab explorations have included how a dog shakes off water, how frogs use their tongues to snare prey, how snakes slither up surfaces and how some insects support their body weight through tension on the water’s surface and then propel themselves with hydrophilic legs.
On the recommendation of a patient, Dr. Marchetta looked into having Dr. Hu talk at the Opening Lecture. The more she researched, the more intrigued she became. While Dr. Hu is an experienced, engaging, and animated speaker, the messages he delivers during those presentations resonated with her.
“I love the idea of talking about process of scientific discovery, and excitement of where science may take us,” Dr. Marchetta said. “So often we lose our sense of wonder and fun. We get overburdened with, ‘I need to write this grant, or I need to do this progress report or this administrative task. We lose our childlike enthusiasm, the simple joy of looking out at the world, at nature and making an observation and then asking, ‘Why is that? Why does it happen that way?’”
Following the Opening Lecture, Dr. Hu will also participate in a book signing during the Opening Reception, which will be in the Georgia Ballroom, located in Building C of the Georgia World Congress Center.