624 pages, 11 b/w photos, 250 b/w illustrations, 35 tables
Why do you switch from walking to running at a specific speed? Why do tall trees rarely blow over in high winds? And why does a spore ejected into air at seventy miles per hour travel only a fraction of an inch?
Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World is the first and only textbook that takes a comprehensive look at the mechanical aspects of life – covering animals and plants, structure and movement, and solids and fluids. An ideal entry point into the ways living creatures interact with their immediate physical world, this revised and updated edition examines how the forms and activities of animals and plants reflect the materials available to nature, considers rules for fluid flow and structural design, and explores how organisms contend with environmental forces.
Drawing on physics and mechanical engineering, Steven Vogel looks at how animals swim and fly, modes of terrestrial locomotion, organism responses to winds and water currents, circulatory and suspension-feeding systems, and the relationship between size and mechanical design. He also investigates links between the properties of biological materials – such as spider silk, jellyfish jelly, and muscle – and their structural and functional roles. Early chapters and appendices introduce relevant physical variables for quantification, and problem sets are provided at the end of each chapter.
Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World is useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a guide to state-of-the-art biomechanics. For a wider audience, Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World establishes the basic biological context for applied areas – including ergonomics, orthopedics, mechanical prosthetics, kinesiology, sports medicine, and biomimetics – and provides materials for exhibit designers at science museums.
Praise for the previous edition:
"Throughout the book, Vogel introduces the formulae and principles that matter in a clear 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
"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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