Explanations for the sophisticated patterning of crop circles vary, but science, with a hint of art, can explain the craft and speed of their creation, says a U.S.-based Professor of Physics, Psychology, and Art.

In this month's edition of Physics World, Richard Taylor, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, said the phenomenon is growing as technology advances.

Credit: flickr - oddsock

Tackling with this topic that critics may claim is beyond scientific understanding, Taylor said physics could hold the answer. Specifically, Global Positioning System (GPS), lasers and microwaves were named as the most modern means to create the spectacular patterns.

GPS enables the artists to cover vast spaces with absolute precision, suggested Taylor.

Microwaves could be used to make crop stalks fall over and cool in a horizontal position, claims Taylor. This technique can explain the speed and efficiency of the process as well as the detailed patterns that some crop circles exhibit.

Taylor claims that it is possible to reproduce the intricate damage inflicted on crops using a handheld device called magnetron, made using parts from the common household cooker and a 12-volt battery developed by his team at the University of Oregon.

It seems our kitchen has many hidden tools for the crop-circle creation, a work often understood as aliens'.

Dispensing with rope, wooden planks and bar stools, the patterns can also be carved with lasers, said Taylor.

Crop circles have been reported in England since 1678, and since then by 26 countries in the last third of the 20th century. 90% of the total ten thousand crop circles were located in southern England, many near ancient monuments like Stonehenge.

According to Freddy Silva of cropcircles.net,

"Serious attention was given to the simple circles in 1980 in southern England. The designs appeared primarily as simple circles, circle with rings, and variations on the Celtic cross up into the mid-1980s. Then they developed straight lines and created pictograms, not unlike petroglyphs.

After 1990 the designs developed exponentially in complexity, and today it is not unusual to come across designs mimicking computer fractals and elements that relate to fourth dimensional quantum physics. Their sizes have also increased, some occupying areas as large as 200,000 sq feet. To date there have been over 10,000 reported and documented crop circles throughout the world, with some 90% emerging from southern England.

While many still go unreported each year, the emergence of the phenomenon in the world media and the internet has allowed more information to be lodged."

Taylor called the phenomenon "the most science-oriented art movement in history".

Also pointing at the increasing mystery of how the crop circles are produced, Taylor noted, "crop-circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily.

This summer, unknown artists will venture into the countryside close to your homes and carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history."

Credit: Flickr - oddsock
Location Tägermoos between Steckborn and Hörhausen. The crop circle in this photo is already 15 days old. For visitors the owner made additional paths which disfigure the image somewhat. The shape is just simple, but more than a few circles. It reminds of the double helix of DNA. Aerial shot from a Reims-Cessna F172N Skyhawk II, Switzerland, July 27, 2009, 4.16 pm. Credit: Flickr - Kecko