Cats’ Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People

Cats Paws and Catapults Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People Nature and humans build their devices with the same earthly materials and use them in the same air and water pulled by the same gravity Why then do their designs diverge so sharply Humans for inst

  • Title: Cats’ Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People
  • Author: Steven Vogel Kathryn K. Davis
  • ISBN: 9780393319903
  • Page: 374
  • Format: Paperback
  • Nature and humans build their devices with the same earthly materials and use them in the same air and water, pulled by the same gravity Why, then, do their designs diverge so sharply Humans, for instance, love right angles, while nature s angles are rarely right and usually rounded Our technology goes around on wheels and on rotating pulleys, gears, shafts, and cams yeNature and humans build their devices with the same earthly materials and use them in the same air and water, pulled by the same gravity Why, then, do their designs diverge so sharply Humans, for instance, love right angles, while nature s angles are rarely right and usually rounded Our technology goes around on wheels and on rotating pulleys, gears, shafts, and cams yet in nature only the tiny propellers of bacteria spin as true wheels Our hinges turn because hard parts slide around each other, whereas nature s hinges a rabbit s ear, for example often swing by bending flexible materials In this marvelously surprising, witty book, Steven Vogel compares these two mechanical worlds, introduces the reader to his field of biomechanics, and explains how the nexus of physical law, size, and convenience of construction determine the designs of both people and nature This elegant comparison of human and biological technology will forever change the way you look at each Michael LaBarbera, American Scientist

    One thought on “Cats’ Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People”

    1. This is one of those science-type books that are always difficult for me, as I am, admittedly, not the brightest person in the world. I think I would classify my intelligence as third-rate, if even that. However, my brain is always striving for more (even if the rest of me isn't) so I was compelled to read this to see if I could somehow get to the second-rate level.The premise of the book is rather fascinating. How do the works of mankind (skyscrapers, aeroplanes, computers) compare with the wor [...]

    2. A pretty thorough book on the differences of the way man makes things and the way nature creates things. The book goes through the various points- going through like systems and how the exist in each domain. The book goes into some detail comparing the two and how the two worlds dominate certain elements. The book can get bogged down a bit in some getting a bit too detailed, though if you are into that you'll be fine. I would have liked a bit more visuals to accompany the book and also it would [...]

    3. An extremely important work comparing the mechanical designs of nature and those created by man. Many have touched on this as a pure engineering question but Vogel/Davis seem to have developed the most complete and challenging analysis of the subject. Read about rotating shafts vs articulating motions and appreciate the very different boundary conditions for designing in the biological vs. the material realm. Great book to have for enforcing reason when Software experts start to babble about evo [...]

    4. This was a fascinating read. His writing style can be a tad thick at times, like I found I was re-reading sections because I wasn't sure if I got his point. But the content, examples, and parallels between the mechanical world and the natural world were amazing.

    5. Tough going at times but ultimately quite rewarding. Wish I had read this during physics/while studying for the MCATs. Vogel has a knack for making complex ideas both accessible and relevant, just what you want in a popular science book. The premise: compare human engineering with the way nature solves the same problems. For example: engines, how to swim, fly, make a material hard, repair something already made, etc. The differences are striking. Discussion with the somatic synthesis group tough [...]

    6. Entertaining whistle-stop tour of the worlds of biological and mechanical engineering. The jocular style is not quite up to the level of Bill Bryson but this is still an enjoyable and informative book.

    7. This was loaned to me by CAT, to educate me in the ways of biomechanics and biologically inspired design.

    8. Fantastic read, It started off a little slow but got good.I especially liked the conclusions and comparisons in the final chapter.

    9. Fascinating comparisons of the biomechanics of nature and human technology. Disappointingly heavy in evolutionary theory.

    10. A rewarding (if a bit dusty) look at why natural and human selection result in difference mechanical strategies. Puts a little awe back in 'Biology is awesome.' Enjoyed.

    11. Read it for a zoology class. It makes a better read if you're interested in physics, since that is a major focus of the author. Very disorganized writing style too.

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