Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate


Sterling A. Taylor


Although biological phenomena may be partially described in a general way without the use of mathematics and physics, the experimental results may be more meaningful if they are analyzed on the basis of physical and mathematical laws . The complexity of biological systems has made the application to them of mathematics and physics rather difficult, and only recently has much progress been made . Although it has yet been possible to describe only a few simple biological systems by actual equations, a great deal of qualitative information may be obtained by applying physics and mathematics. Russell (1960, p. 439) said

In principle at least, the properties and processes of living plants may be described by the terminology and laws of physics. Such properties as color, mass, volume, area, viscosity, elasticity, specific heat, and permeability; and such processes as diffusion, reflection, osmosis, heat conduction, fluid flow, absorption, and swelling are examples of physical concepts useful in describing living plants.