Peter Melcher, Associate Professor, Ithaca College Department of Biology, gives a talk for the Physics Department Fall Seminar Series


Contributed by Jill Ackerman

Do Plants Defy Physical Laws?  

How plants move water against the forces of gravity and hydraulic resistance without using a heart-like pump. 

In this seminar, I will explain the physics of sap ascent in plants and discuss the various obstacles that plants must overcome to get water from the soil to their thirsty leaves.  Unlike many higher animal species that use a mechanical pump known as a heart to push fluids around their bodies, plants lack hearts because plant cells have cell walls which limit cellular flexibility and hearts are also very energetically expensive to maintain.  This resulted in many cool evolutionary adaptations used by plants to overcome the forces of gravity and hydraulic resistance that allows them to move water through their bodies. The physics of fluid flow and the adaptations used by plants to translocate fluids will be the focus of this seminar.

Tuesday, September 10
12:10 CNS 206B

Pizza and refreshments provided for $1.00. Please bring your own cup. Remember to reuse, reduce, recycle.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Department assistant at We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.