"This wonderful, insightful book will excite your curiosity and change the way you view the living world. Professor Steven Vogel, world authority on motion in fluids, takes the reader on a tour of discovery, comparing human inventions with the ingenuity of Nature. Beautifully and clearly written, this important new book brings biology and technology together for a wider readership. I really love this book and could not put it down." .... Christopher McGowan, paleontologist, author of "Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons." ........ "Who is the better technologist, Mother Nature - source of seashells, spider webs, and birds' wings - or the human engineer - creator of skyscrapers, nylon, and airplanes. This engrossing question lies at the heart of a fine new book by Steven Vogel, an expert in biomechanics with a flair for genial philosophizing." ........ Samuel Florman, engineer, author of "The Existential Pleasures of Engineering."
This is a wonderful book for people that have an interest in Biomechanics. Vogel lays out the basic theories without equations or complex language. All of the terms used are carefully explained so that a grasp of the subject is obtained quickly and with little effort. The book covers a wide range of interests within the natural and human-made world, with direct comparisons between the two. Vogel uses elegant figures and personal anecdotes, which enliven the text. I would recommend this to people that have a general interest, but it is also suitable for those with an engineering background or those (like myself) just embarking on a research career in Biomechanics. There is also a comprehensive selection of notes, some that merely add additional detail, whilst other give references for those readers who wish to explore the field further. This book definitely provides a stepping stone to Vogel's more complex, academic books on the subject of biomechanics (such as Life in Moving Fluids) but is pitched at a level that would allow such a transition to more technical works to occur, without making the text boring or difficult to follow.
Although not at all mathematical the book should be an essential read for any scientist. (I am Physics) it explains the concepts of scaling lucidly, and debunks so many of the concepts that Nature always gets it right. Nature's problems are quite different from ours. Just one of so many examples: , it is true that a waterlily had corrugated leaves, and it may have inspired Paxton over the roof of the Great Exhibition, but its structural requirements are quite different, having effectively no weight in the water, but a very definite requirement to float.