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News From the Field
MIT Solves Gravity-defying Bird Beak Mystery

May 16, 2008

Phalarope, shorebird with a long, narrow beak. As Charles Darwin showed nearly 150 years ago, bird beaks are exquisitely adapted to the birds' feeding strategy. A team of MIT mathematicians and engineers has now explained exactly how some shorebirds use their long, thin beaks to defy gravity and transport food into their mouths. The phalarope takes advantage of surface interactions between its beak and water droplets to propel bits of food from the tip of its long beak to its mouth. Full Story

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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