Physics in Biology and Medicine, Fourth Edition explores concepts in physics as they apply to living systems. The discussion is organized into 18 chapters encompassing thermodynamics, electricity, optics, sound, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, and atomic and nuclear physics. Each chapter provides a brief review of the background physics before focusing on the applications of physics to biology and medicine. The book describes biological systems and presents calculations of the forces exerted by muscles, as well as the maximum impact that can be sustained by a body without injury, the height from which a person can jump, the effect of an animals size on the speed at which it can run, and the circulation of blood in the body. Using the theory of fluids, the role of diffusion in the functioning of cells and the effect of surface tension on the growth of plants in soil are also analyzed. Using the principles of electricity, the conduction of impulses along the nervous system is investigated. Each section contains problems that explore and expand some of the concepts, and some of the techniques of physics and engineering are applied to the study of living systems. Moreover, the use of lasers in medical diagnostics and the applications of nanotechnology in biology and medicine are considered. This book will be a valuable resource for students and professors of physics, biology, and medicine, as well as for applied health workers.

Key Features

  • Provides practical techniques for applying knowledge of physics to the study of living systems
  • Presents material in a straight forward manner requiring very little background in physics or biology
  • Includes many figures, examples and illustrative problems and appendices which provide convenient access to the most important concepts of mechanics, electricity, and optics in the body


Premed students, Doctors, nurses, physiologists, or other applied health workers, and other individuals who wish to understand the nature of the mechanics of our bodies

Table of Contents



1 Static Forces

    1.1 Equilibrium and Stability

    1.2 Equilibrium Considerations for the Human Body

    1.3 Stability of the Human Body under the Action of an External Force

    1.4 Skeletal Muscles

    1.5 Levers

    1.6 The Elbow

    1.7 The Hip

         1.7.1 Limping

    1.8 The Back

    1.9 Standing Tip-Toe on One Foot

    1.10 Dynamic Aspects of Posture


2 Friction

    2.1 Standing at an Incline

    2.2 Friction at the Hip Joint

    2.3 Spine Fin of a Catfish


3 Translational Motion

    3.1 Vertical Jump

    3.2 Effect of Gravity on the Vertical Jump

    3.3 Running High Jump

    3.4 Range of a Projectile

    3.5 Standing Broad Jump

    3.6 Running Broad Jump (Long Jump)

    3.7 Motion through Air

    3.8 Energy Consumed in Physical Activity


4 Angular Motion

    4.1 Forces on a Curved Path

    4.2 A Runner on a Curved Track

    4.3 Pendulum

    4.4 Walking

    4.5 Physical Pendulum

    4.6 Speed of Walking and Running

    4.7 Energy Expended in Running

    4.8 Alt


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© 2013
Academic Press
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"The text provides clear descriptions of medical devices and techniques such as MRI, CAT scan and cochlear implant. It discusses biological systems that can be analyzed quantitatively and shows how advances in the life sciences have been aided by the knowledge of physical or engineering analysis techniques."--Anticancer Research, August 2013

Reviews from the 2e:

"This is a book you should consider if you are teaching the one-semester premed course. This text could be used in two ways: 1) as a text for a one-term course in the physics of the body (without calculus) for non-physics majors in premed or allied health programs, or 2) as a supplementary text for the introductory physics course, particularly for premed students."--Russell Hobbie, University of Minnesota
"There is certainly a viable market (for this book), if not as a stand-alone physics text, as a collection of problems, examples, and discussions at the boundary between physics and biology and medicine. It is very well written; it is certainly accurate; and it is pretty complete."--David Cinabro, Wayne State University