Why the Wheel is Round: Muscles, Technology, and How We Make Things Move (Hardback)Steven Vogel (author)
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Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
--John Long, author of Darwin's Devices: What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us about the History of Life and the Future of Technology
"Reading this book, I found myself being pulled along by the curiosity of Vogel as he connects the power provided by the muscles of humans and animals with the immense variety of rotating objects invented over the course of human history. Despite the book's title, wheels are only one part of the story. Firmly grounded in Vogel's deep understanding of physical principles, the book is as informative as it is entertaining."
--Richard Marsh, Brown University
"Vogel writes with his typical, easy-as-pi style that epitomizes his intense curiosity for all things round. Gear up to read topics revolving around tools, toys, machines, and even animals. Ever the spokesman for experiments, Vogel goes full circle by ending with an appendix filled with DIY physical models. Whether you're a tinkerer in the garage, an inquisitive self-educator, or a budding biomechanist, this page-turner will round out your knowledge of circular motion."
--Anna Ahn, Harvey Mudd College
"Biomechanist Vogel . . . succeeds once again in turning engineers, biologists and the general public onto the beauty, complexity and approachability of his field. He spins an 11-part tale of circular motion that ranges from rotation in biology to rotation driven by biology. Vogel captivates with discussions of engineering feats rooted in circular motion -- from plodding horses turning shallow paddle wheels to gears that drive sixteenth-century reading machines -- and doesn't stint on his trademark puns and word-play. Mixing findings in his own field with those from mechanics, dynamics and historical analysis, he creates a delightful perspective on the wonders of whirl. There is even a bonus chapter on how to make simple rotational models, including an entertaining but difficult-to-use drill. Let the good times roll."
"Few, if any, engineering books can have started by encouraging the reader to go through a series of physical exercises in which they see how far they can twist their extended arm, turn their wrist and rotate their head. It may sound more like pilates than technology, but Why the Wheel Is Round takes us deep into the world of biomechanics--in essence how muscles pulling on bones allow us to carry out tasks and how biological materials like wood, horn and shell fit them for toolmaking."
--Engineering and Technology
"Posthumously published, Why the Wheel Is Round was written by Vogel (1940-2015), a celebrated researcher and author in the field of biomechanics. He focuses on the intersection of biology (specifically the physics of muscles, joints, and other "moving parts") and mechanical engineering--often comparing a biological system to a mechanical system. The author's final book is specifically about the design of mechanical wheels and the rotation found in nature. It covers both a brief history of human inventions that have some rotational aspects, natural analogs to these systems, and instructions for building simple demonstration models. This book, like Vogel's previous titles, is written in a conversational style that makes it accessible to laypeople and undergraduates, even though it addresses complex topics. It is appealing both as a popular science title and as an educational reading tool for graduate students, faculty, and other researchers interested in the field of biomechanics. Recommended."
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