Newman, D.J., "Moving Through Fluids," Biomechanics, 2 (5): 37-39, May, 1995.


Throughout history, humankind has been intrigued by the biomechanics of locomotion. Contemporary attempts to model human motion, and specifically the various functions of the lower extremities, are by no means new or unique. The ancient Greeks' investigations of human movement culminated in Aristotle's work, which dominated thinking in this area for nearly 2000 years. Sir Isaac Newton laid the foundation of modern dynamics, and his three laws of motion are essential for understanding human locomotion. Fascinated with the human form, celebrated artists such as Durer, Meissonier, DaVinci and Michelangelo elegantly and realistically portrayed human motion, greatly contributing to our current understanding. The concept that bones serve as levers and that muscles function according to mathematical principles (proposed by Alfonso Borelli, who studied under Galileo) is still a fundamental notion for modeling human motion. Eadweard Muybridge's monumental photographic work from the late 1880s and early 1900s still serves as the definitive depiction of movements and gaits natural to most animals. In extending our understanding of locomotion, today's unique contribution might just be underwater studies of running, walking, therapy, and training.

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