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Comparative Biomechanics:
Life's Physical World
Steven Vogel

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

Hardcover | 2003 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691112978

Reviews

Why do you shift from walking to running at a particular speed? How can we predict transition speeds for animals of different sizes? Why must the flexible elastic of arterial walls behave differently than a rubber tube or balloon? How do leaves manage to expose a broad expanse of surface while suffering only a small fraction of the drag of flags in high winds?

The field of biomechanics--how living things move and work--hasn't seen a new general textbook in more than two decades. Here a leading investigator and teacher lays out the key concepts of biomechanics using examples drawn from throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Up-to-date and comprehensive, this is also the only book to give thorough coverage to both major subfields of biomechanics: fluid and solid mechanics.

Steven Vogel explains how biomechanics makes use of models and methods drawn from physics and mechanical engineering to investigate a wide range of general questions--from how animals swim and fly and the modes of terrestrial locomotion to the way organisms respond to wind and water currents and the operation of circulatory and suspension-feeding systems. He looks also at the relationships between the properties of biological materials--spider silk, jellyfish jelly, muscle, and more--and their various structural and functional roles.

While written primarily for biology majors and graduate students in biology, this text will be useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a sense of the state of the art of biomechanics and a guide to its rather scattered literature. For a still wider audience, it establishes the basic biological context for such applied areas as ergonomics, orthopedics, mechanical prosthetics, kinesiology, sports medicine, and biomimetics.

Review:

"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

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File created: 4/17/2014

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