Experimental Page: Brad Levy's Ideas for Research Topics

Question marks and lightbulbs

This page is an on-line experiment. Ever get those flashes of inspiration (or stupidity - not always possible to tell at the time) wondering about the possible connections in our world? Well, these are some of mine. If you know something about some of these subject areas and wish to discuss, put to rest, or point me to relevant research on some of these ideas, email me. I will incorporate relevant feedback into this page. Topics with enough followup will get pages of their own.

Hysteresis and the Human Body

  • We approach many illnesses or medical conditions from a paradigm considering the body as having a normal, stable state of the body, and an abnormal, unstable state (such as out of control growth or infection). Are some conditions better understood as having several stable states, (one possibly more desirable than the other), with hysteresis causing the body to stay in a state until it receives a major push to the other state? Possible relevant areas might be bipolar disorder and allergies.

Tree biology - Do trees have a temperature?

  • Does a tree have a metabolism measurable as temperature? If so, how completely does it shut down (above ground) in winter? Is it different for evergreens than deciduous trees? Has anyone tried embedding thermal sensors in different parts of trees and comparing the reading to ambient over a season?

Symbiotic plant fertilization by animals - trigger mechanisms

  • I remember hearing about some studies on intensive grazing in the southwest found it wasn't quite the disaster originally thought, in part because the animals left natural fertilizer that helped spur regrowth. I've observed the area around my birdfeeder, and noticed an apparent significant increase in droppings when the feeder has run empty. It seems to go beyond the "don't go to the bathroom where you feed" rule, to one of actively going in an area that has been completely harvested. Is this a common natural pattern? (Or are the birds just expressing there displeasure with an empty feeder? :-)