I was under the understanding that the "bumblebees can't fly" thing went back to assumptions about the rigidity of insect wings, and once photography fast enough was developed, the mechanism was seen properly and all was well. --Kels 11:19, 28 July 2007 (CDT)
- It's still a popular belief, there's even a (fairly recent) book out called Bumblebees Can't Fly - and as we all know, ideas carry on floating aroung long after they've been disproved. Totnesmartin 11:35, 28 July 2007 (CDT)
I know nothing about aerodynamics, so someone could perhaps clarify this.
I presumed that the bumblebee problem arises, because of the size of the creature. At that size, it can get away with flying, because it has quite a small mass and surface area and finds the air more "viscous", but that if one attempted to build a bumblebee shaped aircraft on a much larger scale it wouldn't work.--Albannach (talk) 15:08, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
- Try this Jack Hughes (talk) 15:31, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
- I was once under the impression that wing texture (the vein structure lets the wing mimic the camber of an airfoil) and flexibility have as much to do with it as scale and viscosity. The story as I read it in an entomology text was that one of Ludwig Prandtl's grad students did some back-of-an-envelope calculations, asssuming the wing was a flat rigid plate. The aerodynamicists instantly recognized that there must be a flaw in that calculation, but the popular press ran with it anyway. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:41, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Reaction of a scientist
I wanted to add to the article this point: if a scientist did do an aerodynamic calculation that showed that bumblebees couldn't fly, the scientist would go "Huh, we must be missing something. Maybe our understanding of aerodynamics is incomplete". The scientist would not declare that bumblebee flight was an illusion/hallucination/whatever.
xkcd does the funny
"It's scientifically impossible for the bumblebee to fly; but the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, flies anyway."
Personally, I think we need to change the first line to "... states that according to all known laws of avitation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. It's wings are just too small to get it's fat little body off the ground" Blackblood909 (talk) 09:19, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
The scientist on being presented with the 'bees scientifically cannot fly but they do' argument would immediately think 'I know where to get a research grant for this' followed by 'how do I angle this for a Nobel Prize or other award.'
I've seen stuff online (including @TakeThatDarwin on twitter) about how bumble bees supposedly fly by setting up a resonance at the earth's Schumann frequency (see Schumann resonances) and levitating, or something. I don't know if it's serious or a joke, but might be worth mentioning and debunking. --Annanoon (talk) 23:29, 25 March 2019 (UTC)