Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Bulletproof Feathers is a fascinating introduction to the field of biomimetics, or bionics. Biomimetics refers to efforts to understand the design and complexity of natural, biological systems and the application of this knowledge to achieve useful new technologies. Some notable success stories of biomimetics include Velcro fasteners, modeled after burdock hooks that catch on clothing when a person hikes across a field of thistle, and the "lotus leaf effect," in which nanoscale waxy protrusions endow a surface with a superhydrophobic property that causes water drops to roll right off (and take any contaminating dirt with them!). This book, beautifully illustrated with many real-world examples and explanatory diagrams, will be a joy to read for any fan of science and technology. Biomimetics, and its closely related discipline of bionic engineering, is a rapidly growing field at the intersection of engineering, materials science, and biology. In fact, the new International Society of Bionic Engineering was recently founded, with Professor Julian Vincent as its inaugural president. Vincent contributes the final chapter, "New Materials and Natural Design"; the other contributing authors are equally distinguished academics from departments of biology, engineering, and acoustics. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, two-year technical program students, and general readers. M. R. King Cornell University