Biomimicry examines the extraordinary innovations of the natural world and the human inventions they have inspired. Readers will learn about marvels such as high-performance swimsuits modeled after sharkskin and the sleek front ends of Japanese bullet trains based on the long, streamlined beak of the kingfisher. There's also plenty about what glimmers on the horizon: A Brazilian beetle may be key to developing computers that run on light, and the gecko's humble foot may hold the secret to revolutionizing the way ...
Biomimicry examines the extraordinary innovations of the natural world and the human inventions they have inspired. Readers will learn about marvels such as high-performance swimsuits modeled after sharkskin and the sleek front ends of Japanese bullet trains based on the long, streamlined beak of the kingfisher. There's also plenty about what glimmers on the horizon: A Brazilian beetle may be key to developing computers that run on light, and the gecko's humble foot may hold the secret to revolutionizing the way surgical wounds are closed. Best of all, nature's inventions are lean, green machines that are self-sustaining and generate zero waste -- yet another cue humans are taking from the natural world. Astounding facts, easy-to-understand prose and luminous illustrations bring the wonders of nature into the science lab.
"Nature got there first" is the opening statement, and we clever humans are learning that camouflage, echolocation, Velcro, and even motors are not the exclusive purview of humankind. The latter was revealed when scientists looked at bacterium under a microscope and discovered how it moves. Copying nature is a good thing, especially since one of the premises we observe in nature is balance. We humans do not recycle as well as nature nor are we able to repair ourselves as well as some of the plants and animals around us. There are other fascinating things we can learn—air conditioning is based on termite mounds, strong new materials are going to be based on the structure of the horsetail and other plants. Real examples include the sharkskin inspired swimsuits that helped swimmers break previous speed records, the current production of colors without pigments based on the way light is reflected, the research into new biodegradable plastics, and understanding the way that dolphins communicate thus developing modems that separate the information from noise. When it comes to medicine there are so many plants to test that it would require tremendous effort and time. Clever scientists are observing our close relatives such as the chimpanzee and working with the plants that they seek out when ill. The examples are wonderful and they move into many other areas such as power that is pollution free, improving computers, developing new machines that move like animals, implementing nanotechnology and finally living in a world where we pay attention to what nature does to preserve lands and keep things in balance. The book concludes that "Doing it nature's way" promises to change the world in a good way. The book is one that may really open the eyes of readers and make them look more closely at the world they live in and start thinking about ways to achieve development with less harm to the earth. The information, illustrations and entire concept make for a truly outstanding book. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Nature has been inspiring scientists for a long time-think Newton and that apple. However, it has been an inspiration in purely practical matters as well-think of Velcro, of camouflage, of solar cells, of pottery. Then add the maybes, the possibles, the probables, as Lee has done in this slim volume. The readable text is broken down into specific areas such as "Medical Marvels" and "Dealing with the Tough Stuff," consisting of an overview and a series of examples already in use or dreams on a design board. The term "biomimicry" may not be familiar to all, but the science has been around for some time, and Lee's discussion provides food for thought. Thompson's elegant acrylic-on-canvas illustrations, softly realistic in execution, give the book a goodly measure of eye appeal. Softer in approach and appearance than Phil Gates's Nature Got There First (Kingfisher 2010), this book will be of interest not only to budding scientists and science fair hopefuls, but also to those who like a splash of art with their science.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Dora Lee lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada. From an early age, she was interested in both science and writing. As she grew older, writing took a backseat to jobs in biotechnology research and development.
Margot Thompson is an illustrator of children's books including the award-winning Tree of Life, Sea Monsters, Make a Change: Shapes, and Make a Change: Opposites. She also works as a designer at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.