Physics of the Heart Essay

Physics of the Heart Essay

Length: 921 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the US, heart attacks kill more people than any other single cause. Many of the deaths are caused by electrical disturbances in a damaged heart that cause it to fibrillate (Pool). Despite current overwhelming interest in the operations of the human heart, for most of history the human heart has been regarded as a "forbidden organ too delicate to tamper with" (NOVA). In fact, it might have remained so, were it not for World War II where military doctors, faced with massive numbers of injuries ushered the world into our current medical trajectory.

Your body has about 5.6 liters of blood. All of this blood circulates through the body three times every minute. In one day, the blood travels a total of 12,000 miles (NOVA). Rhythmic contractions of the heart pump blood occur in response to electrical control pulse sequences. Active cells in the sinoatrial node in the heart trigger a sequence of electrical events that control muscle contractions, which pump the blood.

Scientific interest in the heart goes back centuries. Some of the most basic understandings about the operation and specifically the electrical currents of the heart were discussed during the May 17, 1888 Proceedings of the Royal Society of London by Professor J.A. McWilliam of the University of Aberdeen. The following conclusions were based on his studies of mammalian hearts in cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, hedgehogs, and guinea-pigs.

* An all or nothing approach to heart contraction
o If a stimulus was strong enough to excite contraction, it produced a maximal contraction
* The application of interrupted currents induces fibrillar contractions which can be recovered from even after long period under the combined influence of artificial respira...

... middle of paper ...

...n that prevents the heart from immediately contracting again.


1. "Cactus Picture" March 16, 2005.

2. Campbell, Neil A. (2002) "Biology" 6th edition. Benjamin Cummings. San Francisco, CA.

3. Kay, Ian. (1998) "Introduction to Animal Physiology" Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

4. McWilliam, J.A. (1888) "On the Rhythm of the Mammalian Heart" Froceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 44, pages 206-208.

5. NOVA. " Cut to the Heart” PBS Online 1997.

6. Pool, Robert. (1990) “Heart Like a Wheel” Science, Vol. 247, No. 4948, pages 1294-1295.

7. Putnam, Jeremiah L. "Heart Diagram" Professor of Biology. Davidson College.

8. Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut. (1997) "Animal Physiology: Adaptation and environment" Fifth Edition. Cambridge University Press. New York, NY.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Physics of Roller Coaster

- i: Introduction You apprehensively walk up the iron steps and onto the platform. You’re reluctant to go any further, but your friend eggs you on, saying, “It’s not that fast.” You step into the seat and pull the harness down over you. No, this isn’t the latest, greatest technological frontier. It’s a roller coaster. Since 1804 when the first wheeled roller coaster- called “Les Montagnes Russes”- was constructed in Paris, France, roller coasters have been a staple of adventure and fantasy among children and children-at-heart....   [tags: Physics]

Better Essays
1556 words (4.4 pages)

Physics in Volleyball Essay examples

- Physics is used in almost everything we do throughout our everyday lives. Sports are almost entirely composed of the physics of the human body in order accomplish the performed action. Volleyball is a sport which has physics at the heart of the game, understanding the physics of the game actually allows a player to improve and become more efficient and effective in his or her game. This essay gives insight into how the rules of physics can be used and are essential in the game of volleyball in all aspects of the game including serving, passing, setting, hitting, and blocking....   [tags: physics sport sports volleyball]

Better Essays
1755 words (5 pages)

Aristotelian Physics On Modern Science Essay

- Humans have always been naturally curious. Why are we here. How did life start. What happened at the beginning of time. How does everything work. These are seminal questions that plagued our ancestors and currently plague us. Answering seemingly impossible questions is the role of science, specifically physics, in humanity. At the forefront of the quest to understand everything was Aristotelian physics. While in the future Aristotelian physics would turn out to be completely incorrect, his original ideas and theories were critical for developing modern science as we know it today....   [tags: Scientific method, Science, Theory, Physics]

Better Essays
1318 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Women in Physics

- Outline In 1944 the German chemist Otto Hahn was awarded a Noble Prize for his work on nuclear fission - the process that lies at the heart of nuclear bombs and power stations. The Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, who was the official leader of Hahn's team, and who also worked out the theoretical explanation of their experimental discoveries, was not even mentioned in the Noble committee's announcement. (Wertheim) Thirteen years later the Chinese-American particle physicist Chien-Shiung Wu would likewise be left out when the Nobel committee made its announcements....   [tags: physics female females]

Free Essays
2049 words (5.9 pages)

Essay about Physics of Rollercoasters

- There is a click, and the car you are sitting in is jerked. The chains that are cranking the car forward continue to make click click sounds and you find yourself counting them as seconds. Your heart begins to beat hard, and you hold your breath in anticipation as the car finally begins to transcend the first hill. Suddenly, you find yourself throwing your arms in the air to feel the air brush passed your face. Screams of terror and delight pierce through the air as you and your fellow passengers bank around the first curve and enter the first loop-de-loop....   [tags: rollercoaster physics amusement theme park]

Free Essays
717 words (2 pages)

The Physics of Human Strength Essay

- Welcome to the Physics of Strength What make a person strong. According to Frederick Hatfield, Ph.D. and former world record holder in the Squat, there are 38 factors affecting strength. I have put them here for you to read quickly, but the original article can be found on 1. Muscle Fiber Arrangement 2. Musculoskeletal Leverage 3. Tissue Leverage 4. Freedom of Movement Between Fibers 5. Tissue Viscoelasticity 6. Intramuscular/intracellular friction 7. Ratio of Fiber Types 8....   [tags: physics sport sports weight lifting strong]

Free Essays
2573 words (7.4 pages)

Physics of Lightning Essay

- Lightning can be defined as a transient, high current electric discharge whose path length is generally measured in kilometers. Lightning occurs when some region of the atmosphere attains an electric charge sufficiently large that the electric fields associated with the charge cause electrical breakdown of the air. However lighting has been reported in snowstorms, sandstorms, in clouds over erupting volcanoes, and been reported to occur in the clear air. Such lightning can take place entirely within a cloud (intra cloud), between two clouds, between cloud and the earth, or between a cloud and the surrounding air....   [tags: lightning physics]

Free Essays
956 words (2.7 pages)

Basic Transistor Physics Essay

- The first transistor was demonstrated on Dec. 23, 1947, at Bell Labs by William Shockley. This new invention consisting of P type and N type semiconductive materials (in this case germanium) has completely revolutionized electronics. Transistors quickly replaced vacuum tubes in almost all applications (most notably those in discrete logic). Today when we think of transistors the first thing that comes to mind is computers. Advances in transistor technology and manufacturing processes as well as new materials being used for the semiconductor matrix and wiring have led to smaller, faster, cheaper, lower power transistors....   [tags: physics electronics transistor]

Better Essays
1531 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Motion: Physics and Seat Belts

- The scientific term of ‘motion’ is been one of the strangest phenomenon known in the history of physics. Since the end of the 17th century, the vast improvements in the technology and society have evolved the meaning of the word motion in terms of physics from ‘a simple movement’ to ‘a change in position, if acted upon by an unbalanced force’. In modern physics, motion is the change in position of an object with respect to its time and its reference point. Motion can be described as both scalar and vector quantity in relation to displacement, speed, direction, velocity, acceleration and time....   [tags: Position, Inertia, Seat Belts]

Better Essays
1591 words (4.5 pages)

The Physics of Photography Essay

- The Physics of Photography The general population has become so accustomed to their simple point and shoot cameras that they do not either notice the poor quality of images that they are producing or do not have the knowledge to produce better images. For those who desire to take better photographs, photography will be an exciting life long adventure. There are many aspects to consider when taking a photograph. A good photograph is well thought out before the photographer snaps the shutter....   [tags: Pictures Photographs Careers Essays]

Better Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)