At one time scientists believed that a "vital force" governed the structure and organization of biological molecules. Today, most scientists realize that organisms are governed by the laws of physics on all levels.
While almost two centuries of research have found that physical laws fully apply to biology, work is far from complete. Basic question at the atomic, molecular, and organismal levels remain unanswered. Even when typically complex molecular structure is known, function is not yet predictable. Nourishment, growth, reproduction, and communication distinguish biological matter from inorganic matter, yet these mechanisms are understood only qualitatively.
This book furthers our under standing by relating important concepts in physics to living systems. Applications of physics in biology and medicine are emphasized, with no previous knowledge of biology is required. The analysis is largely quantitative, but only high-school physics and mathematics are assumed. Underlying basic physics appears in appendices. Biological systems are described in only enough detail for physical analysis.
The organization is similar to basic physics texts: solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, sound, electricity, optics, and atomic and nuclear physics. A bibliography gives important sources for further reading.
"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, retired
"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/medicine. It is very well written; it is certainly accurate; and it is pretty complete."
David Cinabro, Wayne State University
Paul Davidovits, Professor of Chemistry at Boston College, was co-awarded the prestigious year 2000 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 (discussed herein), which allows engineers and biologists to produce optical sections through 3-D 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 100 papers in physical chemistry.