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


"Our human technology has emerged from ten thousand years of design, trial, and error. Nature's mechanical designs, the function of plants and animals are billions of years older. Both "technologies" share the same physical environment - the same materials, atmosphere, and temperature range - and both are subject to the same gravitational pull. But they've turned out to be wildly dissimilar. Steven Vogel examines the many questions that arise from these differences. Cats' Paws and Catapults is about the ways living things work - and walk, run, jump, and fly - and how they grow. It introduces the reader to the field of biomechanics and explains how the nexus of physical law and historical accident determine the designs of both people and nature. It asks, in the end, how looking at nonhuman - natural - technology might enrich our understanding of what we do and have done." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1998


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