Cover image for Furry logic : the physics of animal life / Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher.
Furry logic : the physics of animal life / Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher.
Publication Information:
London, UK ; New York, NY : Bloomsbury Sigma, 2016.
Physical Description:
304 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Furry physics -- Heat : the warm-up chapter -- Forces : the big push -- Fluids : when things get stickier -- Sound : good vibrations -- Electricity and magnetism : let the sparks fly -- Light : a final physics fandango -- Life, the universe, and everything.
"The animal world is full of mysteries. Why do dogs slurp from their drinking bowls while cats lap up water with a delicate flick of the tongue? How does a tiny turtle hatchling from Florida circle the entire North Atlantic before returning to the very beach where it was hatched? And how can a Komodo dragon kill a water buffalo with a bite that is only as strong as a domestic cat's? These puzzles-- and my more besides-- are all explained by physics. From heat and light to electricity and magnetism, Furry Logic unveils the ways that animals exploit physics to eat, drink, mate and dodge death in their daily battle for survival. Science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher also introduce the great physicists whose discoveries helped us understand the animal world, as well as the experts of today who are scouring the planet to find and study the animals that seem to push the laws of physics to the limit. Presenting mind-bending physical principles in a simple and engaging way, this book is for anyone curious to see how physics crops up in the natural world. It's more of a 'howdunit' than a whodunit, though you're unlikely to guess some of the answers"-- Inside jacket flap.
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The principles of physics lie behind many of the ways animals go about their daily lives. Scientists have discovered that the way cats and dogs lap up liquids can be explained by the laws of surface tension, how ants navigate is due to polarized light, and why pistol shrimps can generate enough force to destroy aquarium glass using their "elbows!"

Each of Furry Logic 's six chapters tackles a separate branch of physics and, through more than 30 animal case studies, examines each creature's key features before describing the ways physics is at play in its life, how the connection between physics and animal behavior was discovered, and what remains to be found out. Science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher make the incredible interdisciplinary world of animals accessible to all, in an enthralling and entertaining read.

Author Notes

Matin Durrani is the editor of the international magazine Physics World. After receiving his Ph.D. on polymer physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, Durrani did a postdoc at the University of Cambridge before moving into publishing.

Liz Kalaugher is a science and environment writer based in Bristol, UK. Fascinated by animals since a childhood encounter with a squashed frog, she is a particular fan of bats, bees, and badgers. After winning journalism fellowships from the World Federation of Science Journalists and the European Geosciences Union, Liz has also reported on beluga whales in the Canadian Arctic and Finnish reindeer. She has a materials science degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD in thin-film diamond from the University of Bristol. Liz tweets from @LizKalaugher and you can find out more about Furry Logic at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bridging physics and biology in an accessible, informative, and (mostly) humorous manner, science journalists Durrani and Kalaugher take readers on an eclectic tour of the natural world. In individual chapters focusing on the physics of heat, force, fluid dynamics, sound, electricity and magnetism, and light, they explain basic principles and describe how a range of animals make use of those principles, often in surprising ways, to increase their ability to survive and reproduce. The authors demonstrate why mosquitos aren't killed when hit by raindrops weighing 50 times the mass of the insect, how bees manage to fly when simple equations suggest that they shouldn't be able to generate enough lift to do so, and how loggerhead turtles use the Earth's magnetic field to return to the beach upon which they hatched after swimming in the open ocean for five to 10 years. The examples are often fascinating, but Durrani and Kalaugher's larger message about the need to integrate the sciences is far more important: "Dividing physicists and biologists-making them go to separate classes and learn different subjects-stifles progress." Durrani and Kalaugher approach their captivating material in a lighthearted fashion, though the wordplay gets a bit stale by the end of the book. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Durrani (editor, Physics World) and -Kalaugher (editor, combine physics with biology to explore how animals eat, keep warm, mate, and protect themselves in their natural environments. Arranged into sections such as "Heat," "Force," "Fluid," and "Sound and Light," the book illustrates how ants, cats, snakes, bees, eels, lobsters, and other creatures manage the world around them. Just as human beings don't have to know how an engine works to drive a car or understand the principles of flight to ride in a plane, animals are unaware of the laws and properties they manipulate to survive and flourish. The authors entertain and explain with cases such as the simple harmonic motion of a shaking dog or the quantum mechanics of the Oriental hornet. The tone is charming and conversational, and humorous examples are paired with detailed descriptions of physics at work. VERDICT Readers don't need a background in physics to enjoy this engaging, educational title. Recommended for fans of popular science, including YA audiences.-Catherine Lantz, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Furry Physicsp. 9
1 Heat: The Warm-up Chapterp. 15
2 Forces: The Big Pushp. 67
3 Fluids: When Things Get Stickierp. 107
4 Sound: Good Vibrationsp. 151
5 Electricity and Magnetism: Let the Sparks Flyp. 191
6 Light: A Final Physics Fandangop. 239
Conclusion: Life, the Universe and Everythingp. 289
Acknowledgementsp. 295
Indexp. 296

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