Popular Science

Tomatoes and subway systems might have something in common

They're both just trying to get the biggest bang for their buck.
tomato plant

Just another morning commute.

When people design transportation systems, they are usually trying to find the sweet spot where they can get people to their final destinations as quickly as possible, while minimizing the cost of building the infrastructure. It may not always work (this summer's unfolding New York City subway debacle is a prime example), but it turns out that plants take a similar approach.

A published today in investigates how balance cost and performance to develop their complex, branched structures. But instead of

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science4 min readScience
This Could Be The Fiercest Pacific Hurricane Season Ever
Hurricane Walaka Unlike the Atlantic, the list of storm names in the eastern Pacific includes the letters X, Y, and Z to account for the heightened activity. Dennis Mersereau While the Atlantic Hurricanes Florence and Michael have rightfully gotten m
Popular Science5 min read
Why Counting Central Park's Squirrels Isn't Nuts
A squirrel eating a mushroom in Central Park's North Woods. Josh O'Connor, Squirrel Census A biker shifting gears sounds a lot like a snapping branch. Or at least that’s what Josh O’Connor, Field Commander for the Central Park Squirrel Census, told m
Popular Science5 min read
Keep Your Home's Temperature Up And The Heating Bill Down
If you don't want to crank up the thermostat, a warm drink and well-layered clothes will keep you cozy. Depositphotos When the leaves turn, the battle over the thermostat begins. One family member wants to crank up the heat right away, while another