Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2009 - Science - 302 pages
0 Reviews

Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds offers an eye-opening look into how the characteristics of the physical world drive the designs of animals and plants. These characteristics impose limits but also create remarkable and subtle opportunities for the functional biology of organisms. In particular, Steven Vogel examines the size and scale, and trade-offs among different physical processes. He pays attention to how the forms and activities of animals and plants reflect the materials available to nature, and he explores the unique constraints and possibilities provided by fluid flow, structural design, and environmental forces.


Each chapter of the book investigates a facet of the physical world, including the drag on small projectiles; the importance of diffusion and convection; the size-dependence of acceleration; the storage, conduction, and dissipation of heat; the relationship among pressure, flow, and choice in biological pumps; and how elongate structures tune their relative twistiness and bendiness. Vogel considers design-determining factors all too commonly ignored, and builds a bridge between the world described by physics books and the reality experienced by all creatures. Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds contains a wealth of accessible information related to functional biology, and requires little more than a basic background in secondary-school science and mathematics.


Drawing examples from creatures of land, air, and water, the book demonstrates the many uses of biological diversity and how physical forces impact biological organisms.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Chapter
18
Chapter Three
39
Chapter Four
58
Chapter Five
80
Chapter
95
Chapter Seven
116
Chapter Eight
141
Chapter Nine
164
Chapter
184
Chapter Eleven
209
Chapter Twelve
232
List of Symbols
259
Index
289
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biology at Duke University. His numerous books include Comparative Biomechanics (Princeton), and Cats' Paws and Catapults (Norton).

Bibliographic information