Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Bow


The submarine H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during combat; however, the cause of its sinking has been a mystery for over 150 years. The Hunley set off a 61.2 kg (135 lb) black powder torpedo at a distance less than 5 m (16 ft) off its bow. Scaled experiments were performed that measured black powder and shock tube explosions underwater and propagation of blasts through a model ship hull. This propagation data was used in combination with archival experimental data to evaluate the risk to the crew from their own torpedo. The blast produced likely caused flexion of the ship hull to transmit the blast wave; the secondary wave transmitted inside the crew compartment was of sufficient magnitude that the calculated chances of survival were less than 16% for each crew member. The submarine drifted to its resting place after the crew died of air blast trauma within the hull.

Concepts: Causality, Shock wave, American films, Submarine, Ship, BLAST, Torpedo, Bow


A crossbow is a bow that shoots an arrow when a gun-like trigger is pulled. Deaths caused by accidental crossbow shootings are extremely rare. Here we describe an autopsy case of a penetrating wound to the left cerebral hemisphere caused by an accidental shooting with a crossbow. A man in his early 60s who lived with his wife and had used crossbows for 20 years as his hobby was found one early morning in the shed of his house, collapsed and bleeding from the head and neck. He was taken to a hospital and died after approximately 3 days of conservative treatment. At autopsy, a penetrating wound between the upper part of the left anterior neck and the left frontoparietal region was evident. Traumatic intracerebral hematoma was observed in the left frontal lobe, and severe traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage was present throughout the brain. Cerebral contusion and hematoma without any organization were noted around the penetration. The cause of death was determined to be cerebral contusion and intracerebral hematoma due to the penetrating wound by the crossbow arrow. He was probably trying to load an arrow into the crossbow by placing it on the floor, pointing upward, and made a mistake in its operation that resulted in the shooting of the arrow. This case is unique because it was a rare accidental death caused by a crossbow arrow, and a detailed histopathological examination was performed.

Concepts: Death, Cerebral cortex, Bleeding, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Frontal lobe, Bruise, Bow, Crossbow


Bows and arrows are used more for recreation, sport and hunting in the Western world and tend not to be as popular a weapon as firearms or knives. Yet there are still injuries and fatalities caused by these low-velocity weapons due to their availability to the public and that a licence is not required to own them. This study aimed to highlight the penetration capabilities of aluminium arrows into soft tissue and bones in the presence of clothing. Further from that, how the type and fit of clothing as well as arrowhead type contribute to penetration capacity. In this study ballistic gelatine blocks (non-clothed and loose fit or tight fit clothed) were shot using a 24lb weight draw recurve bow and aluminium arrows accompanied by four different arrowheads (bullet, judo, blunt and broadhead). The penetration capability of aluminium arrows was examined, and the depth of penetration was found to be dependent on the type of arrowhead used as well as by the type and fit or lack thereof of the clothing covering the block. Loose fit clothing reduced penetration with half of the samples, reducing penetration capacity by percentages between 0% and 98.33%, at a range of 10m. While the remaining half of the samples covered with tight clothing led to reductions in penetration of between 14.06% and 94.12%. The damage to the clothing and the gelatine (puncturing, cutting and tearing) was affected by the shape of the arrowhead, with the least damaged caused by the blunt arrowheads and the most by the broadhead arrows. Clothing fibres were also at times found within the projectile tract within the gelatine showing potential for subsequent infection of an individual with an arrow wound. Ribs, femur bones and spinal columns encased in some of the gelatine blocks all showed varying levels of damage, with the most and obvious damage being exhibited by the ribs and spinal column. The information gleaned from the damage to clothing, gelatine blocks and bones could potentially be useful for forensic investigators, for example, when a body has been discovered with no weapons or gunshot residue present.

Concepts: Redox, Forensic science, Projectile, Arrow, Bow, Archery, Arrowhead, Projectile point


An ultrasonic antifouling treatment was applied to a 96,000 m3 class drill-ship to verify its feasibility through a sea-trial. Soon after the hull cleaning had been performed, six ultrasonic projectors were evenly deployed around the starboard shell plate. Driven by a 23 kHz sinusoidal ultrasound in an intermittent manner, the projectors emitted a high-intensity sound reaching 214 dB at the source level causing cavitation around the adjacent water and eventually deterring the settlement of marine fouling organisms. Underwater photographs acquired after four months showed fairly clean slabs on the starboard side, but heavy fouling on the port side. This experiment revealed that ultrasound treatment is a promising method for inhibiting fouling accumulation, even for large-scale ship applications.

Concepts: Scientific method, Ultrasound, Sonar, Verification, Biofouling, Fouling, Bow, Starboard


Bows and arrows are ancient weapons that have risen and fallen as the preeminent armaments used by man. Because of the ubiquity of firearms, fatalities from archery injuries in the United States have radically declined. However, when deaths involving this weapon do present themselves, the paucity of reference materials can be a hurdle for forensic pathologists and other forensic scientists. This article will provide a brief history of the origins of the bow and the inception of the compound bow. Comparing and contrasting the structures comprising a traditional bow to those of the modern compound bow will provide insight into how these components function in unison to propel arrows.

Concepts: Bow, Archery, Infantry, Crossbow, Longbow, Compound bow, Flatbow, Composite bow


Recurve archery is an Olympic sport that requires extreme precision, upper body strength and endurance. The purpose of this research was to quantify how postural stability variables both pre- and post-arrow release, draw force, flight time, arrow length and clicker reaction time, collectively, impacted on the performance or scoring outcomes in elite recurve archery athletes. Thirty-nine elite-level recurve archers (23 male and 16 female; mean age = 24.7 ± 7.3 years) from four different countries volunteered to participate in this study prior to competing at a World Cup event. An AMTI force platform (1000Hz) was used to obtain centre of pressure (COP) measurements 1s prior to arrow release and 0.5s post-arrow release. High-speed footage (200Hz) allowed for calculation of arrow flight time and score. Results identified clicker reaction time, draw force and maximum sway speed as the variables that best predicted shot performance. Specifically, reduced clicker reaction time, greater bow draw force and reduced postural sway speed post-arrow release were predictors of higher scoring shots. It is suggested that future research should focus on investigating shoulder muscle tremors at full draw in relation to clicker reaction time, and the effect of upper body strength interventions (specifically targeting the musculature around the shoulder girdle) on performance in recurve archers.

Concepts: Prediction, Future, Classical mechanics, Olympic sports, Bow, Archery, Bow draw, Longbow


Archery has experienced a recent resurgence in participation and has seen increases in archery range attendance and in children and young adults seeking archery lessons. Popular literature and movies prominently feature protagonists well versed in this form of weaponry. Periodic homicide cases in the United States involving bows are reported, and despite this and the current interest in the field, there are no manuscripts published on a large series of arrow wounds. This experiment utilizes a broad selection of modern arrowheads to create wounds for comparison. While general appearances mimicked the arrowhead shape, details such as the presence of abrasions were greatly influenced by the design of the arrowhead tip. Additionally, in the absence of projectiles or available history, arrowhead injuries can mimic other instruments causing penetrating wounds. A published resource on arrowhead injuries would allow differentiation of causes of injury by forensic scientists.

Concepts: Causality, United States, Injury, Wound, Arrow, Bow, Archery, Arrowhead


Musicians activate their muscles in different patterns, depending on their posture, the instrument being played, and their experience level. Bipolar surface electrodes have been used in the past to monitor such activity, but this method is highly sensitive to the location of the electrode pair. In this work, the spatial distribution of surface EMG (sEMG) of the right trapezius and right and left erector spinae muscles were studied in 16 violin players and 11 cello players. Musicians played their instrument one string at a time in sitting position with/without backrest support. A 64 sEMG electrode (16×4) grid, 10mm inter-electrode distance (IED), was placed over the middle and lower trapezius (MT and LT) of the bowing arm. Two 16×2 electrode grids (IED=10mm) were placed on the left and right erector spinae muscles. Subjects played each of the four strings of the instrument either in large (1bow/s) or detaché tip/tail (8bows/s) bowing in two sessions (two days). In each of two days, measurements were repeated after half an hour of exercise to see the effect of exercise on the muscle activity and signal stability. A “muscle activity index” (MAI) was defined as the spatial average of the segmented active region of the RMS map. Spatial maps were automatically segmented using the watershed algorithm and thresholding. Results showed that, for violin players, sliding the bow upward from the tip toward the tail results in a higher MAI for the trapezius muscle than a downward bow. On the contrary, in cello players, higher MAI is produced in the tail to tip movement. For both instruments, an increasing MAI in the trapezius was observed as the string position became increasingly lateral, from string 1 (most medial) toward string 4 (most lateral). Half an hour of performance did not cause significant differences between the signal quality and the MAI values measured before and after the exercise. The MAI of the left and right erector spinae was smaller in the case of backrest support, especially for violin players. Back muscles of violin and cello players were activated asymmetrically, specifically in fast movements (detaché tip/tail). These findings demonstrate the sensitivity and stability of the technique and justify more extensive investigation following this proof of concept.

Concepts: Left-wing politics, Electromyography, Musical instrument, Violin, Cello, String instrument, Bow, Violin family


In rowing, perfect synchronisation is important for optimal performance of a crew. Remarkably, a recent study on ergometers demonstrated that antiphase crew coordination might be mechanically more efficient by reducing the power lost to within-cycle velocity fluctuations of the boat. However, coupled oscillator dynamics predict the stability of the coordination to decrease with increasing stroke rate, which in case of antiphase may eventually yield breakdowns to in-phase. Therefore, this study examined the effects of increasing stroke rate on in- and antiphase crew coordination in rowing dyads. Eleven experienced dyads rowed on two mechanically coupled ergometers on slides, which allowed the ergometer system to move back and forth as one ‘boat’. The dyads performed a ramp trial in both in- and antiphase pattern, in which stroke rates gradually increased from 30 strokes per minute (spm) to as fast as possible in steps of 2 spm. Kinematics of rowers, handles and ergometers were captured. Two dyads showed a breakdown of antiphase into in-phase coordination at the first stroke rate of the ramp trial. The other nine dyads reached between 34-42 spm in antiphase but achieved higher rates in in-phase. As expected, the coordinative accuracy in antiphase was worse than in in-phase crew coordination, while, somewhat surprisingly, the coordinative variability did not differ between the patterns. Whereas crew coordination did not substantially deteriorate with increasing stroke rate, stroke rate did affect the velocity fluctuations of the ergometers: fluctuations were clearly larger in the in-phase pattern than in the antiphase pattern, and this difference significantly increased with stroke rate. Together, these results suggest that although antiphase rowing is less stable (i.e., less resistant to perturbation), potential on-water benefits of antiphase over in-phase rowing may actually increase with stroke rate.

Concepts: Rates, Acceleration, Kinematics, Rowing, Sculling, Bow, Watercraft rowing


Lithic bifacial points are very common in the southern and southeastern regions of the Brazilian territory. Dated from Early to Late Holocene, these artifacts have not been studied in terms of their propulsion system. Given the characteristics of the bow and arrow compared to the atlatl and dart, there are important differences in the size and weight of arrowheads and dart points. Applying the techniques proposed by Shott (1997), Bradbury (1997), Fenenga (1953), Hughes (1998), and Hildebrandt and King (2012) to specimens recovered from eight sites dating from the early to the late Holocene, this work aims to present preliminary results to better understand the potential presence of darts and arrows in southeastern and southern Brazil. There was a variation in the results according to the application of different techniques. At least one set of points, dated from the Early Holocene, presented quite a high proportion of specimens classified as arrows, indicating the presence of points that could be used as arrowheads.

Concepts: Brazil, Holocene, Arrow, Bow, Archery, Arrowhead, Atlatl, Projectile point