The Australian’s affinity for nature began when he was a boy noticing that patterns made by swimming fishes mimicked the shape of seaweed mingling with waves.
The science of the whirlpool is, in fact, omnipresent in nature, from unfolding flowers to echoing seashells. And as if borrowing from nature, its traces can also be widely found in the human body.
As Harman explains, “Heart muscles are in the shape of whirlpools, and when we breathe in and out, it is in the shape of whirlpools.” Even our skin pores are evidence of whirlpool wonders working.
The award-winning founder and chairman of PAX Scientific dedicated two decades of his life to perfecting the world's first frozen whirlpool in order to transform his lifelong passion into a mélange of industrial equipment and inventions, from plane engines’ afterburners to user-friendly tech for measuring blood glucose.
He advocates biomimicry, an increasingly vital part of engineering, it uses nature as a role model for developing sustainable technology — before environmental damage becomes irreversible.
His book The Shark’s Paintbrush, published in 2013, is a guide for the public on biomimicry, which Harman believes represents the way forward.
“The way to be curious and to go forth in a sustainable, less messy way, is to use nature as mentor,” he says. “We have the intellectual capacity and the curiosity to evolve beyond where we are now to a brighter future.”