Lays out the key concepts of biomechanics using examples from throughout the plant and animal kingdom and explains how biomechanics makes use of models and methods drawn from physics and mechanical engineering to investigate a wide range of general questions, from how animals swim and fly to how organisms respond to wind and water currents. The book also examines the relationship between the properties of biological materials, such as spider silk, and their structural and functional roles.
"Personal anecdotes connect the material to the happenings of everyday life, creating a book that will be well received and remembered by students. Nearly every example is accessible to common experience and easy to comprehend [...] Excellent, clean line diagrams illustrate nearly every important concept. Each chapter begins with an eclectic and often amusing quotation drawn or paraphrased from the experiences of the author. This typifies the familiar style brought forward in this important and timely work, which will surely become the book of choice for courses in comparative biomechanics."
"A delightful and comprehensive textbook that is perfect for undergraduates and those of us who need a refresher [...] Throughout the book, Vogel introduces the formulae and principles that matter in a cleat manner, and illustrates them with a dizzying array of biological and physical examples [...] [T]his book is tremendous fun to read. Vogel writes with an effervescent sense of delight in his subject. The text is laced with wit and humor, and sprinkled with eclectic examples of nature's many marvels. None of the fun, however, diminishes the clarity."
– Daniel E. Lieberman, Nature
"I tried skim-reading Steven Vogel's Comparative Biomechanics [...] but was compromised: the volume has so many little gems scattered throughout that my eye got caught by the glitter and couldn't escape. In earlier books, Vogel introduced biomechanics piecemeal. Now he has written an integrated textbook on the subject."
– Julian F. V. Vincent, Science
"[Vogel] is that rare animal, a biologist who is at once fluent in mathematics, conversant with physics and physical chemistry, and an accomplished practical engineer. More than that, the quality of Vogel's writing allows him to convey complex ideas clearly and make them so accessible that his books are hard to put down."
– H.C. Bennet-Clark, Bioscience
"Science books are generally read for three reasons: it is assigned, it provides an introduction to an unfamiliar field, or because it is a truly enjoyable read. Great science books meet all three [...] With Comparative Biomechanics, Vogel has now produced a book that meets all three criteria of a great science book."
– Scott Turner, Quarterly Review of Biology
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Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor of Biology at Duke University. He is the author of "Vital Circuits, Cats' Paws and Catapults" and, from Princeton, "Life in Moving Fluids" and the prize-winning "Life's Devices".