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Eagle inspired engineering

Online event


The Royal Society YouTube channel


This event is part of a series of lightning lectures for the Royal Society’s 2021 Summer Science digital showcase.

A tawny eagle effortlessly negotiates strong turbulence as it glides through the laboratory. Image credit: Royal Veterinary College, University of Bristol

From producing lift with their tails to allowing their wings to be buffeted by the wind to provide suspension, birds have adapted incredible ways of remaining stable during flying. 

Now scientists such as Professor Jim Usherwood are using tiny helium-filled soap bubbles to track how birds such as owls, hawks and eagles make gliding seem so effortless. By studying nature in this way, it may be possible to inspire the next generation of human-made aircrafts and flying machines.


  • Professor Jim Usherwood, Professor of Locomotor Biomechanics, Royal Veterinary College

Attending this event online: 

  • The event will be livestreamed on the Royal Society YouTube channel on Thursday 8 July 2021 at 6.45pm BST 
  • The event will also be available afterwards on our YouTube channel 
  • This event is suitable for ages 14+
  • This event is free to join and there is no registration required 
  • Live subtitles will be available 
  • Part of Summer Science 2021
  • Share on social media using #SummerScience 
  • For all enquiries contact 

Related events

Eagle inspired engineering

Discover how birds such as owls, hawks and eagles make gliding seem so effortless.

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