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Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World
     

Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World

by Steven Vogel
 

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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 is the first and only textbook that takes a comprehensive look at the mechanical aspects of life--covering animals and

Overview

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 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 is useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a guide to state-of-the-art biomechanics. For a wider audience, the textbook 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.

  • Problem sets at the ends of chapters
  • Appendices cover basic background information
  • Updated and expanded documentation and materials
  • Revised figures and text
  • Increased coverage of friction, viscoelastic materials, surface tension, diverse modes of locomotion, and biomimetics

Editorial Reviews

Choice
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.
Nature
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
Science
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
Bioscience
[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
Quarterly Review of Biology
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
Nature - Daniel E. Lieberman
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.
Science - Julian F.V. Vincent
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.
Bioscience - H.C. Bennet-Clark
[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.
Quarterly Review of Biology - Scott Turner
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.
Science - Julian F. V. Vincent

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.
From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

"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."--Choice

"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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400840953
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/19/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
582
File size:
12 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are Saying About This

Mark Denny
It is always a pleasure to read a book by Steven Vogel. In Comparative Biomechanics, he presents a wealth of new fun facts and quirky insights while providing the first concise single-volume overview of the entire breadth of biomechanics. Up until now, anyone teaching a general course had to rely on at least two texts. This book represents an immense job by an author who is conversant with the whole field and an expert hand in cutting to the core of its principles.
Mark Denny, Stanford University
R. McNeill Alexander
Authoritative, beautifully written, witty, and accessible, this book is the first general treatment of comparative biomechanics for undergraduate students in almost twenty years.
R. McNeill Alexander, Fellow of the Royal Society, University of Leeds

Meet the Author

Steven Vogel is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biology at Duke University. His numerous books include Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds (Princeton) and Cats’ Paws and Catapults (Norton).

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