ISBN-10:
0691138079
ISBN-13:
9780691138077
Pub. Date:
09/13/2009
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds

by Steven VogelSteven Vogel
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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691138077
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/13/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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).

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter One: Two Ways to Move Material 1

Chapter Two: The Bioballistics of Small Projectiles 18

Chapter Three: Getting Up to Speed 39

Chapter Four: Moving Heat Around 58

Chapter Five: Maintaining Temperature 80

Chapter Six: Gravity and Life in the Air 95

Chapter Seven: Gravity and Life on the Ground 116

Chapter Eight: Gravity and Life in Water 141

Chapter Nine: Making and Maintaining Liquid Water 164

Chapter Ten: Pumping Fluids through Conduits 184

Chapter Eleven: To Twist or Bend When Stressed 209

Chapter Twelve: Keeping Up Upward and Down Downward 232

List of Symbols 259

References and Index of Citations 263

Index 289

What People are Saying About This

Johnson

This charismatic book is a fascinating read and Vogel is exceptionally good at presenting the material so that it is accessible to a general audience. The book presents new conceptions, data, and interpretations, but its most impressive aspect is the wide range of diverse examples collected in one place, displaying a lifetime's worth of accumulated knowledge and wisdom.
Amy S. Johnson, Bowdoin College

From the Publisher

"This charismatic book is a fascinating read and Vogel is exceptionally good at presenting the material so that it is accessible to a general audience. The book presents new conceptions, data, and interpretations, but its most impressive aspect is the wide range of diverse examples collected in one place, displaying a lifetime's worth of accumulated knowledge and wisdom."—Amy S. Johnson, Bowdoin College

Sharon Swartz

The book draws case studies from an enormous diversity of organisms, and the scholarship is meticulous—the sources used and cited are both appropriate and extensive. They not only contribute to the text itself, but also comprise a bibliography that will be widely consulted by students at many levels and by readers interested in pursuing specific topics in more depth.
Sharon Swartz, Brown University

Customer Reviews