The spirit of man is expressed by his movement, his attitude, his mimics or – more generally speaking – by his body language. This approach is pursued by Professor Dr. Claus Mattheck in his latest book “Bewegungsspuren” (traces of movement). With a simple muscle model of the face, the trees as teachers in static matters, and much support by Pauli, the Bear, Mattheck shows in an entertaining manner what is ex-pressed by human body language and how it works.
Its starts in the buggy: The nice uncle from next door, who wants to tickle our belly, is either driven back by our screams or welcome with our baby’s smile. This is a result of the child’s analysis of body lan-guage that continues throughout life. People read the mimics and gestures of the persons surrounding them and react to them.
A look out of a window at the deformation of trees shows us the force of the wind. Deformation by movement from a basic composure may also be interpreted as the body language of lifeless structures. If the upright composure is the opposite of decline, shape optimization in nature and engineering is a possibility of keeping (bio)mechanical countenance.
Professor Dr. Claus Mattheck, Head of the Biomechanics Division of the Institute for Materials Research of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, deals with “human body language” using plausibility studies and results of field studies rather than strictly scientific evidence. As a basis, earlier publications on the body language of trees or fungal fruit bodies and last, but not least on the universal shapes of nature are applied.
Gravitation and the way how living beings master this permanent burden play an important role in the book. “Trees keep straight by reaction wood and straighten up again after tilting. Man uses muscles for this purpose”, Claus Mattheck draws the parallel. “Outer composure is a sign of inner resilience. In the past, this was referred to as countenance. Trees use the lignin to keep their countenance”.
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