Physics in Biology and Medicine

4th Edition

Authors: Paul Davidovits
Paperback ISBN: 9780123865137
eBook ISBN: 9780123865144
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 5th December 2012
Page Count: 352
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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


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


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© Academic Press 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

About the Authors

Paul Davidovits Author

Paul Davidovits, Professor of Chemistry at Boston College, was co-awarded the prestigious R.W. Wood prize from the Optical Society of America for his seminal work in optics. His contribution was foundational in the field of confocal microscopy, which allows engineers and biologists to produce optical sections through 3D objects such as semiconductor circuits, living tissues, or a single cell. Dr. Davidovits earned his doctorate, masters, and undergraduate degrees from Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at Boston College, he was a faculty member at Yale University. He has published more than 150 papers in physical chemistry and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for Advancement of Science. The second edition of Physics in Biology and Medicine received the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award in the Discipline of the Natural Sciences.

Affiliations and Expertise

Boston College, Massachusetts, U.S.A.