Instructional Materials in Physics and Astronomy


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A Physical Science Module for Bioscience Students
Project Address: PSMBS, 213 Ferguson Hall, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68588.


Within the hand that holds this sheet of paper there throb thousands of engines; each with its own fuel requirements; each yielding varying amounts of work, heat, and waste output. Each is a cell in your body.

Of course, these cells are not completely independent. They share in a society, but especially in an economy, of the whole organism. This economy does not trade dollars of differing currencies; rather, its commerce is in energy of differing forms.

A particularly important asset is thermal energy. It is the natural by-product of the various energy conversion processes, the biochemical reactions within the body. But, additionally, its average level of distribution throughout the body (i.e., the body's temperature) is significant in the maintenance of the proper rate of these same biochemical reactions.

The purpose of this module is to characterize and evaluate the energy management of the body, with special emphasis on relating the physical processes of thermal energy transport (i.e., heat flow) to the body·s temperature regulation process.