24 INTRODUCTION Chap. 1 atherosclerosis studies, a characteristic dimension for hemodynamics in the vessel is the diameter of the coronary arteries, that for the shear stress on the vessel wall is the thickness of the endothelial cell, in the microme- ters range, that for the molecular mechanism in the cells must be in the nanometers range. For microcirculation, features must be measured in the scale of the diameters of the red blood cells and the capillary blood vessels. In studying heart muscle contraction we must consider features in length scale of the sarcomere. In considering gene therapy we must think of the functions of the DNA molecule. In determining the active transport phe- nomenon we must be concerned with ion channels in the cell membrane. At each level of the hierarchy, there are important problems to be solved. Each hierarchy has its own appropriate mechanics. Integration of all the hierarchies is the objective of physiological studies.
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