Hedgehogs Atop Waves

Since Michael Faraday, scientists have watched the curious patterns that form in a vibrating liquid. By adding floating particles to such a system, researchers have discovered spiky, hedgehog-like shapes that form near the surface. At low amplitudes, the surface patterns resemble the typical smooth rounded lobes one would expect, but as the wave amplitude increases, spikes form in the tracers, driven by the motion of the waves. (Image and research credit: H. Alarcón et al.; via APS Physics)

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