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That’s how the Apples get their shape !

Apples are one of the oldest and most identifiable fruits in the world. However, the shape of an apple is simply considered to be fairly spherical excluding that dimple-shaped feature at the cap of the apple’s stem.

Noatbly, in order to get a proper idea of this a team of mathematics experts along with few physicists, has performed a few of the observations, theories, and some laboratory-related experiments along with other computations to acknowledge the growth and formation of an apple’s cusp.

The lead of this study, L Mahadevan has stated that the biological forms are frequently paired due to the existence of the structures that mainly act as a focal point. The  Professor of Lola England de Valpine of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and dept. of Applied Mathematics has further said that these focal points can occasionally grab the configurations of singularities, at the point where the contorting are localized.

This can be better understood with an example of an apple’s cusp, at that dimple where the fruit and stalk get encountered. The expert, Mahadevan also have developed the most basic and simple theory to describe this entire process but during the project, the apples started to bear fruits the moment the researchers began to link the connections.

Notably, these links connected the real apples carrying the varying development stages and other gel experiments to imitate the growth alongside theory and computations. Significantly, the team of few experts started with the collection of apples at several growth stages from an orchard located in the United Kingdom known as the Peterhouse College University of Cambridge. This College possesses the alma matter of Sir Issac Newton, as he too loved the apples.

The team has been using these apples to figure out the developments of this dimple or the cusp as they called it, with time. Thus, to understand the entire evolution happening in the shape of the apple and the cusp, then the experts must turn to a permanent mathematical theory called ‘Singularity theory.’

This theory is mainly required to relate an arrangement of carrying phenomena from the back holes to more tedious samples like the light sequence at the base of a swimming pool, crack propagation. and droplet breakup.


Building from this theoretical framework, the researchers used numerical simulation to understand how differential growth between the fruit cortex and the core drives formation of the cusp. They then corroborated the simulations with experiments which mimicked the growth of apples using gel that swelled over time. The experiments showed that different rates of growth between the bulk of the apple and the stalk region resulted in the dimple-like cusp.

“Being able to control and replay morphogenesis of singular cusps in the laboratory with simple material toolkits was particularly exciting,” said Aditi Chakrabarti, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and co-author of the paper. “Varying the geometry and composition of the gel mimics showed how multiple cusps form, as seen in some apples and other drupes, such as peaches, apricots, cherries and plums.”


About the author

Nate Davidson

After serving as a lead author in leading magazines, Nate Davidson planned to launch its own venture as FX Consumer Electronics. With a decade-long work experience in the media and passion in technology and gadgets, he founded this website. Luthar now enjoys writing on tech and software related topics. When he’s not hunched over the keyboard, Nate spends his time engulfed in Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels and movies. [email protected]

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