Reviews of two books by Tim Pedley
- Scale Effects in Animal Locomotion (1977), by T J Pedley (ed).
1.1. Review by: J D Murray.
Biometrics 34 (2) (1978), 331-332.
This book is the well edited proceedings of an International Symposium, held in 1975 at the University of Cambridge, where experimentalists and theoreticians in a variety of disciplines and all working in the field of animal locomotion described their research in mutually understandable terms. The work is divided into four parts, General Considerations, Terrestrial, Aquatic and Aerial Locomotion, with introductory survey papers on each. The almost complete lack of biological relevance of much of the so-called application of mathematics to the biosciences is well known (catastrophe theory is a prime example). In contrast this book is one of the most practical and relevant interdisciplinary books I have read for some time. From the point of view of an applied mathematician reading it, however, the overall impression of the modelling is one of empiricism, dimensional analysis and curve fitting. This to a large extent is a consequence of the brief given to the participants. Although much of the subject is necessarily empirical at this stage it is an unfortunate impression, since a lot of the work particularly in aquatic and aerial locomotion involves interesting and challenging mathematical modelling and analysis of the traditional deterministic applied mechanics kind. Adequate references, however, are given to the mathematical work.
1.2. Review by: Stephen Jay Gould.
The Quarterly Review of Biology 53 (4) (1978), 473-474.
Scaling has been an important subject in the literature of biology ever since Galileo followed his discussion of cylinders with an illustration of increasing relative thickness in the leg bones of large terrestrial vertebrates. This interdisciplinary tradition, so auspiciously begun by a paragon, now requires a committee for its further advance. This book displays all the strengths and some of the weaknesses inherent in joint effort. It includes the contributions of nearly all leaders in the biology and engineering of scaling. It suffers less than most compendia from incoherence or triviality, probably because its subject - the effect of size upon shape and performance - is sufficiently circumscribed to impose the same concerns upon all participants, yet sufficiently broad in its implications to interest nearly any thinking biologist
1.3. Review by: Roderick A Suthers.
American Scientist 66 (4) (1978), 499-500.
If one compares large and small animals that have a similar shape, it quickly be comes apparent that their bodies are differently proportioned. The skeletal elements in the legs of large mammals, for example, are larger relative to their body size than the corresponding bones in small mammals. The fact that the mass of an animal increases as the cube of its linear dimensions has far-reaching implications which are reflected in the organism's structural design, metabolic requirements, and behaviour. Since the anatomical and physiological stresses are often most severe during strenuous locomotion, it is especially instructive to examine the functional and structural aspects of scaling in relation to various types of animal locomotion. This excellent book, which contains the proceedings of an international symposium held at Cambridge University in September 1975, presents an interdisciplinary approach to the problems of scaling and locomotion in animals. The authors include biologists, biophysicists, physiologists, engineers, and mathematicians. The book's coverage is surprisingly complete when one considers that it is a collection of individual papers. Almost all kinds of locomotion are discussed, in animals ranging from unicellular organisms through mammals.
- The Mechanics of Circulation (1978), by C G Caro, T J Pedley, R C Schroter and W A Seed.
2.1. Review by: C T Kappagoda.
The British Medical Journal 1 ( 6118) (1978), 979.
Although some entertain the occasional doubt about the attitude of the British public towards the "technological revolution" of the last 20 years they should concede that clinical cardiology has endeavoured to stay close to its glow, if not exactly to its "white heat." Consequently, that most "clinical" branch of medicine has altered out of all recognition. One of the major reasons for this change has been the fact that during this time physical scientists of various persuasions - mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and computer technologists, for example - have expressed increasing interest in the cardiovascular system and have contributed appreciably to understanding its problems. Thus, while clinical cardiologists and "traditional physiologists" have had much to be grateful for from these developments, they have also been faced with the added problem of coming to terms with this new technology.
The authors have clearly appreciated this, and have attempted to fill the void with this creation which attempts to explain certain aspects of the circulatory system in terms of physical principles. I can almost hear the anguished cries, "But there are already dozens of such books." But are there? The authors have deliberately considered the cardiovascular system as being composed of various tissues that respond to physical forces according to known physical principles. While this approach to understanding the circulation has self-evident failings, it nevertheless emphasises overwhelmingly that this system can function in both health and disease within this framework. The book is in two separate sections. The first is devoted to considering physical principles - particularly those governing motion - and here it's necessary to comment on the prospective readership of this book. With due respect, most clinical cardiologists in training (who are probably more than a decade away from their "A" level physics) will find this section somewhat difficult. It is easy to suggest that for some readers the book would be more attractive if it assumed they possessed even less knowledge. Nevertheless, I believe that, in the main the authors have achieved their stated objective of presenting the physical principles while keeping mathematical considerations to a minimum. All this and SI units too (even it is with mm Hg in Parenthesis).
JOC/EFR January 2019
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