The Technology of Life - Machines That Go Squish

Can we learn how man-made technologies work by taking a deeper, more quantitative look at how living organisms function? The nature of physical law imposes unique constraints on the evolution and functioning of living organisms – the same constraints (and opportunities) we encounter when inventing technologies. This module will investigate how living organisms of all shapes and sizes have evolved creative solutions around natural constraints, and indeed turned these into opportunities for amazing feats of ‘natural’ engineering. To do this, students will learn important engineering fundamentals such as fluid mechanics and chemical and heat transport. The overall goals are to assemble a conceptual toolkit to analyse physical and chemical technologies, and to also highlight how nature can inspire new man-made technologies.

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