current state of the art

Dean Pentcheff dean2 at
Thu Oct 31 16:48:02 EST 1991

In article <DAVIS.91Oct22132657 at> davis at ("John E. Davis") writes:
>    I must confess that I know next to nothing about biology or biophysics.
>However, I do have a PhD in theoretical physics.  I am curious about what work
>has been done using, say hydrodynamics, in modeling various biological
>functions or structures.  I am sorry that I cannot be more specific than that.
>A related question pertains to choosing a suitable text book or standard
>reference on the subject.
>   If there has been little or no work done then I'd like to know why.  Is it
>due to the lack of good quantitative data?

There has been a fair bit of work done, in a wide variety of biological
fields.  These range from blood flow through fish swimming to filter
feeding to drag on intertidal organisms.  Why not more?  Biologists tend
not to be mathematically astute (gross generalization, but...) and the
fluids problems that are most biologically interesting tend to be really
complex (turbulence, oscillating flow, low Reynolds number flow, etc.).

Two delightful references to check are (sorry, I don't have publishers
info handy, but these should be in any academic library):

Vogel, Steven.  Life's devices.  An introduction to biomechanics (including
  fluids) topics.  Intended for non-biologists, and even (gasp) non-scientists.
Vogel, Steven.  Life in moving fluids.  Introduction to biofluiddynamics
  primarily for biologists.  Fluid physicists will find the fluid dynamics
  pretty trivial, but it will give an idea of how it applies to biology.

-Dean  (Who is finishing a Ph.D. in fluids-related biomechanics and thinks
        that fluids questions in biology are cooler than cool).  (And who
        is a self-confessed mathematical nimrod).
Dean Pentcheff  (Internet: dean2 at
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley CA 94720
Work Phone: (415) 643-9048   Home Phone: (415) 839-1790    Fax: (415) 643-6264
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