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Mechanics of Motor Proteins & the Cytoskeleton Hardcover – January 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0878933341 ISBN-10: 0878933344

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878933344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878933341
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The cytoskeleton is an area of intense research and we are in danger of drowning in a sea of facts. What should we try to teach our students about it? . . . a textbook is needed which starts from first principles and leads to an understanding of the dynamics of the system. And here is that book." --Edwin Taylor, Nature

"The book is a great launching point for gaining a biophysical understanding of the current detailed literature of motility which is increasingly filled with mathematical models describing motility data. As such, it will benefit students of a wide range of biological and physical backgrounds who are interested in understanding the nuts-and-bolts of cellular motility." --Stephen J. King, Cell

"The book is a great launching point for gaining a biophysical understanding of the current detailed literature of motility which is increasingly filled with mathematical models describing motility data. As such, it will benefit students of a wide range of biological and physical backgrounds who are interested in understanding the nuts-and-bolts of cellular motility." --Stephen J. King, Cell

"The book is a great launching point for gaining a biophysical understanding of the current detailed literature of motility which is increasingly filled with mathematical models describing motility data. As such, it will benefit students of a wide range of biological and physical backgrounds who are interested in understanding the nuts-and-bolts of cellular motility." --Stephen J. King, Cell --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

JONATHON HOWARD is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Edmund Paley on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I wish there was a way to give a book more than five stars, because if there was, this book would get them! One of the most important trends in cell biology in recent years is the study of mechanics at a single molecule level. Since most of the really interesting processes in cell biology, such as division and motility, ultimately are carried out by molecules that convert energy into motion, the question of how these molecules actually move has very broad implications and impinged on everyone. However, in order to understand this, one has to understand some basic physics which of course involves some math. The biologist who is interested in this subject thus has two, and only two options. one is to bury one's head in the sand and say its just too hard to understand, and the other is to read Joe Howard's book. Although the mathematical content is readily apparent, only the basics are needed to get started. The author has thoughtfully compiled detailed derivations at the end in an appendix, so that one can see the details without becoming enmired in them on first reading. Considering the potential difficulties of taking a "hard science" approach to cell biology, the book is remarkably easy to read, which is a tribute to the thought the author has put into presenting the subject in the most logical possible way.
In addition to being an excellent entry point for biologists into this subject, this book would also be an excellent resource for engineers who become interested in cell biology (like myself) because it presents many of the current research frontiers in cell biology from an essentially engineering perspective and using quantitative reasoning.
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Format: Paperback
As the previous reviewer stated this book does break barriers across disciplines to help us understand how life works at the molecular level. Truly remarkable. Its lucid writing is bound to capture the interest of anyone who is curious to know how nature works at a molecular level. If you are a mechanical, electrical, chemical,software engineer, or engineer of any other discipline, this book would appeal for its very engineering flavor. It looks at the mechanics of living systems from an engineer's perspective. If you are a biologist or chemist, you will get a completely new perspective on how things work. Let me state a few concrete examples. Starting with the environment inside the cell.

The first thing Dr. Howard does is to the set the visual stage for us by clearly elucidating in numerical terms the forces at work inside a cell -think of a cell magnified a million times to the size of a football field(300 ft) and the things moving inside are all range from 1cm - 3ft . The force of gravity is at least a billion times smaller than the viscous force on a molecule - gravity is irrelevant in the world inside cells. For those of us who have read Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who, journey into the world of cells would be very much like visiting Whoville, except the kangaroo had its way and dipped the soft clover with its village, and all its little people living on it, into the barrel of oil - luckily it is not hot.

Now the question immediately arises, how do things move inside a treacle? Add crowding to that too! To give you a sense of the crowding inside a cell, a typical mammalian cell contains a billion individual protein molecules. Can diffusion alone do the job of moving stuff around? The answer is no.
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