Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 10:28 UK

Engineer to reveal hula physics

Hula hoops performer
Physics can be applied to the spinning of hoops

An electrical engineer is to give a talk on the physics behind spinning hula hoops during the Highland Science Festival.

But Trina Dinnis said demonstrations may have to be limited because her lecture will be held in the glass covered Inverness Floral Hall.

She said: "If they slip off a hand they tend to fly."

Miss Dinnis will also give another talk entitled: The Mathematics of Why I Don't Have a Boyfriend.

The science festival opens on 1 November with a series of two minute lectures on relativity and quantum theory.

They will be delivered inside a potting shed, with only one person able to attend each session.

I got the idea after hearing a guy talk about how his girlfriend decided she didn't want to go out with him because of the books he read
Trina Dinnis
Electrical engineer
Other festival events will look at the geography of the Cairngorms, astronomy and the potential for space tourism in the Highlands and Moray.

Miss Dinnis, from Edinburgh, hopes her talks will generate greater interest in engineering and science.

After learning how to make her own hula hoops off the internet, she used physics to improve her technique.

She said: "A lot of it is classical mechanics. The bigger and heavier the hoop the easier it is to use.

"I have also found out how to manipulate the hoops using the practicalities of gyroscopes."

After a test run of The Mathematics of Why I Don't Have a Boyfriend on colleagues while she worked at the University of Edinburgh, Miss Dinnis delivered the talk at the Orkney Science Festival two years ago.

By relating a process of choosing a suitable partner, she tries to explain mathematics.

The engineer said: "I got the idea after hearing a guy talk about how his girlfriend decided she didn't want to go out with him because of the books he read and I started thinking about whether there was a selection criteria people used in finding a boyfriend, or girlfriend."


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