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Life's Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants (Princeton Paperbacks) Paperback – 1 Dec 1988


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A brilliant and eccentric book that looks at living things from an engineering point of view, assuming astonishingly little previous knowledge of science on the reader's part. -- Nature


A brilliant and eccentric book that looks at living things from an engineering point of view, assuming astonishingly little previous knowledge of science on the reader's part. -- "Nature

"A brilliant and eccentric book that looks at living things from an engineering point of view, assuming astonishingly little previous knowledge of science on the reader's part."--Nature

From the Author

Something between a textbook and a popular account.
The book won the Irving and Jean Stone Prize for Science Writing for Public Understanding. And the author has written for Scientific American, Natural History, and Discover. Still, the book has some equations--if equations have your number, try my "Cats' Paws and Catapults" (Norton, 1998). In any case, this latter has a better story line.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains "Animal Design" in a Remarkably Readable Style 28 Mar. 2000
By Brian L Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One of the most readable biology books I've ever come across. While it can easily be used for an undergraduate course in animal physiology and evolution, Vogel's text is humorous, (obscure references, funny quotes, and puns abound, adding to the text rather than detracting from it), but also covers a wide range of topics with clear explainations. The chapters are well structured and the table of contents suggests some of the more interesting highlights: why an ant might bite but can't hit, reinflating squid, plumbing the common features of the pipes within organisms, etc. While there is a strong emphasis on fluids in biology, (the author's specialty), it's an amazingly readable, well-written, and informative book on the entire subject of the physical constraints on animals for the interested laymen or undergrad. Table of contents: Constraints & Oppertunities, A Variety of Variables, Size & Shape, Dimensions Gradiaents & Summations, Gases & Liquids, Viscosity & Flow, Pressure & Flow, Diffussion vs Convection, A Matter of Materials, Arranging Structures, Insinuations About Curves, Systems of Support, Mechanics of Mobility, Staying Put & Getting Away, Energy & Afterthoughts. Also has an extensive and well-prepared bibliography, a great jumping off point for further adventures in the field.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting journey to where Biology and Physics meet! 24 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for those that are interested in learning more about how life developed on this planet. It engages the reader with a variety of examples, stimulating thought as how complexs life is and how it's bound to our physycal universe. I recommend it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 26 Sept. 2016
By bestlab - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 Aug. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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