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Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds Paperback – 13 Sep 2009

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"If what you desire in a readable science book is food for thought, Glimpses of Creatures in their Physical Worlds provides a feast. Biologists, engineers, and physicists--indeed, anyone with curiosity about the natural world--will revel in this smorgasbord of biomechanical ideas."--Mark Denny, American Scientist

"Such a book could be written only by someone with a rich knowledge of biomechanics, and Vogel, an emeritus professor of biology at Duke University, fits the bill. Considered one of the founders of the biomechanics community in the US, his distinguished research career has focused on organism-fluid interactions and such diverse topics as the behavior of leaves in the wind, passive ventilation of prairie-dog burrows, and airflow through the branching antennae of some moths. His breadth of knowledge is clearly reflected in the examples presented and the creative thought embodied in Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds. Vogel uses the same approachable, entertaining writing style. . . . [T]his book is sure to serve as an inspiring entry into the field of biomechanics."--Stacey Combes, Physics Today

"It is a fine book and emphasizes important relationships too often neglected."--Choice

"As ever, Vogel is inspiring and his insights are remarkable."--Henry Bennet-Clark, BioScience

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"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

"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

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Another delightful look at how physical laws explain biological phenomena 27 Aug. 2010
By M. D. HEALY - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: the author of this book was my graduate school adviser. Readers who actually look at the front matter (I always do) will notice my name among the acknowledgments. So I'm not exactly unbiased!

Anyway, as with his other books, in this one Steve Vogel looks at how a wide range of biological phenomena are best understood as responses to laws of physics and mathematics. This approach has been around for a while (a superb and still relevant work, published in 1917, is the classic On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Thompson), but as technology evolves so do the tools available to us for studying living organisms in this manner. This book differs from most of his books in being a collection of informal essays, whereas most of his books are academic textbooks. It is thus perhaps less useful to the student who seeks a structured treatment of the topic, but for the general reader it is probably more accessible than is a formal textbook.
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