Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

by Matin Durrani, Liz Kalaugher


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A captivating introduction to the physics of animal behavior.

The principles of physics lie behind many of the ways animals go about their daily lives. Scientists have discovered that the way cats and dogs lap up liquids can be explained by the laws of surface tension, how ants navigate is due to polarized light, and why pistol shrimps can generate enough force to destroy aquarium glass using their "elbows!"

Each of Furry Logic’s six chapters tackles a separate branch of physics and, through more than 30 animal case studies, examines each creature’s key features before describing the ways physics is at play in its life, how the connection between physics and animal behavior was discovered, and what remains to be found out. Science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher make the incredible interdisciplinary world of animals accessible to all, in an enthralling and entertaining read.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472914118
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 622,488
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Matin Durrani is the editor of the international magazine Physics World. After receiving his Ph.D. on polymer physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, Durrani did a postdoc at the University of Cambridge before moving into publishing.

Liz Kalaugher is a science and environment writer based in Bristol, UK. Fascinated by animals since a childhood encounter with a squashed frog, she is a particular fan of bats, bees, and badgers. After winning journalism fellowships from the World Federation of Science Journalists and the European Geosciences Union, Liz has also reported on beluga whales in the Canadian Arctic and Finnish reindeer. She has a materials science degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD in thin-film diamond from the University of Bristol. Liz tweets from @LizKalaugher and you can find out more about Furry Logic at furrylogicbook.com.

Table of Contents

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 woodpecker's don't get headaches, why scorpions glow in the dark, and many more.

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