Physics of Life 2. Biomechanics
What you'll learn
- An understanding of the basic concepts of stress and strain, and how these concepts apply to living structures
- The importance of elastic energy storage in skeletal systems and how these extend the versatility of muscle function
- How materials fails, and how biological materials are built to resist failure
- The meaning of strength, toughness and resiliency in materials and how these relate to biological materials.
- What skeletal systems are, how they function as systems of articulated cantilevers
- How water can effectively serve as a skeletal system, and the inherent versatility of hydrostatic skeletons
- The physics of walking, running and jumping.
- You should have had high school physics and introductory college-level biology
This course deals with the mechanics of life. We cover basic principles of mechanics such as work, power and energy storage, and some of the basic material properties that enable living things not only to support themselves but to propel the body forward by walking, running and jumping.
Physics of Life Biomechanics is the second of four modules in the series Physics of Life. Physics of Life Thermodynamics was the first. To follow are modules on Physics of Life Fluids, and Physics of Life Wave Phenomena, which is concerned with sound and light.
Who this course is for:
- Biology students who want to understand how life works in the physical world.
I am a Professor of Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.
I am a physiologist by training but with a deep interest in the interface of physiology, ecology, adaptation and evolution. You can read some of my thoughts in two books I have published: The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures (2000) and The Tinkerer's Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (2007), both published by Harvard University Press. I have completed a third book, Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something Alive and Why Modern Darwinisms Fails to Explain It, which was published in September 2017 by HarperOne. You can find out more about me at my web site (link above).
My current research focuses on the problem of emergent physiology in social insect colonies. specifically the mound building termites of southern Africa.