Life of a Leaf

ISBN-10: 022610477X
ISBN-13: 9780226104775
Edition: 2013
Authors: Steven Vogel
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Description: In its essence, science is a way of looking at and thinking about the world. In The Life of a Leaf, Steven Vogel illuminates this approach, using the humble leaf as a model. Whether plant or person, every organism must contend with its immediate  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 9/16/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.10" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

In its essence, science is a way of looking at and thinking about the world. In The Life of a Leaf, Steven Vogel illuminates this approach, using the humble leaf as a model. Whether plant or person, every organism must contend with its immediate physical environment, a world that both limits what organisms can do and offers innumerable opportunities for evolving fascinating ways of challenging those limits. Here, Vogel explains these interactions, examining through the example of the leaf the extraordinary designs that enable life to adapt to its physical world. In Vogel’s account, the leaf serves as a biological everyman, an ordinary and ubiquitous living thing that nonetheless speaks volumes about our environment as well as its own. Thus in exploring the leaf’s world, Vogel simultaneously explores our own—answering questions about how objects get much hotter than air when in sunlight and far cooler when beneath a clear night sky; how air movement matters even when we can’t feel it; how objects such as trees avoid damage from storms; and how gases diffuse and bubbles form. He introduces us to ways leaves acquire the essential resources for growth and reproduction, resources not all that different from those needed by animals—humans included. In considering science on our personal scale, Vogel refers complex concepts to everyday observations in our immediate experiences. Though the ideas he presents here hold surprises, he makes the case that they’re quite ordinary—so ordinary that, with the instructions provided, anyone can use everyday household materials to investigate how they work. Within these pages, he provides incredible food for thought and the tools for a new way of seeing the beauty and simplicity of the science of life. A companion website with demonstrations and teaching tools can be found here: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/vogel/index.html

Preface
Starting the Story
Seeking Illumination
Diffusing Gases
Flowing Gases
Leaking Water
Raising Water
Interfacing with Air
Keeping Cool
Cleaning Surfaces
Staying Unfrozen
Staying Stiff and High
Surviving a Storm
Making and Maintaining
Winding It Up
List of Symbols, Abbreviations, and Conversions
Notes
References and Index of Citations
General Index

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