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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/509

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THE HUMAN BODY AS AN ENGINE.

may be 100 degrees or more, and we do not know of any such difference of temperature in the body. Indeed, we know, on the contrary, that the temperature of the body is remarkably uniform, as already stated. It is possible, however, that there are molecular differences of large amount. In other words, if we could make an ultra-microscopic survey of temperature in a muscle during contraction, there might be found places of high temperature where combustion was occurring, and all the requirements of a heat engine of molecular dimensions fulfilled. But this is a matter of speculation. The process may yet be found to be electrical, or something else quite different from that of a steam engine. We thus find between the animal body and a locomotive engine a striking parallel. In many particulars the chemical and physical processes going on in the latter are found also in the former. In both, the fundamental law of the conservation of energy is strictly observed. Nevertheless, the animal body considered simply as a machine is far more complex in its structure and operation than the engine, and far more of mystery envelops its working. Much remains for the chemist and physicist and physiologist to reveal, and no more fascinating field of research exists.