Furry Logic looks in detail at the animals that use cool physics in weird and intriguing ways as part of their daily battle to survive. It details the role of physics in the lives of a number of animals, as uncovered by scientists researching the field of biomechanics.
Furry Logic is divided into seven chapters, each representing a separate arm of physics. Each chapter examines the animals' key features before describing the ways they use physics, how this was discovered, and what remains to be found out. We learn:
- how pistol shrimps can generate a force strong enough to destroy aquarium glass using their claws
- how whales hear using fat
- how cats and dogs lap up milk thanks to the laws of surface tension
- why reindeer use ultraviolet light for foraging
- how a male peacock's train generates infrasound' to attract a mate
- how ants navigate thanks to magnetic fields
- how mosquitoes survive collisions with raindrops
Furry Logic makes the incredible interdisciplinary world of animal biomechanics accessible to all, in an enthralling and entertaining read.
1. Introduction – what do we mean by 'animal physics'?
2. Force and motion – Newton's laws in action
How snakes use friction to move, how the Komodo dragon uses a 'can-opener' technique to tear apart prey, and many more.
3. Heat and light – the electromagnetic spectrum
Why 'ultrablack' butterflies regulate their body heat by absorbing light, why dogs' paws don't freeze, and many more.
4. Sound – a question of waves
How peacock tails generate infrasound to attract a mate, why elephants generate seismic waves, how bats navigate with sound, and how snakes and scorpions hear surface vibrations in sand.
5. Fluid dynamics – how to go with the flow
How pondskaters walk on water, why all mammals empty their bladders in 21 seconds, and why blood doesn't pool in giraffes' necks.
6. Electricity and magnetism – two sides of the same coin
The secrets of the electric eel, the frogs and fish that detect currents, the sea turtles that use magnetic maps, and why trouts' noses follow magnetic fields.
7. Quantum mechanics – it's not all classical physics
The hornet that has its very own solar cell, why quantum entanglement affects how the Robin navigates using proteins in its retina, and the link between honeybee dances and quarks.
8. Unexplained mysteries
Why woodpeckers don't get headaches, why scorpions glow in the dark, and many more.
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Matin Durrani is the Editor of the international magazine Physics World. After his PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge (on polymers), Matin did a postdoc before moving into publishing in the late nineties. He has been editor of Physics World since 2006.
Liz Kalaugher also has a PhD in physics, along with qualifications in Biological Sciences. She is the editor of environmentalresearchweb.org, a leading news resource on environmental issues.