Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

by Steven Vogel
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
Select a Purchase Option
  • purchase options

Temporarily Out of Stock Online


Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

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-off 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 faced 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691138060
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/24/2009
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1 Two Ways to Move Material 1

Chapter 2 The Bioballistics of Small Projectiles 18

Chapter 3 Getting Up to Speed 39

Chapter 4 Moving Heat Around 58

Chapter 5 Maintaining Temperature 80

Chapter 6 Gravity and Life in the Air 95

Chapter 7 Gravity and Life on the Ground 116

Chapter 8 Gravity and Life in Water 141

Chapter 9 Making and Maintaining Liquid Water 164

Chapter 10 Pumping Fluids through Conduits 184

Chapter 11 To Twist or Bend When Stressed 209

Chapter 12 Keeping Up Upward and Down Downward 232

List of Symbols 259

References and Index of Citations 263

Index 289

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews