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The Physics of Birdsong (Biological and…
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The Physics of Birdsong (Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical…

by Gabriel B. Mindlin

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This short book is a tour of the models for birdsong. First, the book summarizes the basic physics--the acoustics of a tube and so forth. Then there is some biology--the anatomy of the sound-producing organs in certain birds. These are then folded together to develop models that recognizably imitate the observed/recorded songs of birds. The book then discusses the limited knowledge of bird neuroscience wrt song production and attempts to model some of that. This leads to a discussion of the dynamics that may be involved in producing rhythm.

All in all, I found this a very enjoyable romp. The book is slender (about 150 pages) and clearly written, and it touches on so many things that I really felt that it cemented and integrated a great many disciplines. I would say that the prereqs for reading this book are high-school acoustics and calculus and some awareness of what differential equations are. (The authors sketch their derivations and inferences rather than producing them in great detail.) This will also ensure that the reader can follow the notation because without seeing how the discussion leads to the models this book would be much less fun. ( )
  chellerystick | Dec 2, 2008 |
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"This book deals with the physical mechanisms at work in the production of birdsong, the acoustic effects that the avian vocal organ is capable of generating, and the nature of the neural instructions needed to drive it. The book provides fascinating reading for physicists, biologists and general readers alike."--Jacket.… (more)

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