The Physics of Hypothermia, Hyperthermia and Other Outdoor Problems
Dr. John E. Sohl
Weber State University
Our bodies can withstand extreme ambient temperature ranges, but only so
long as the brain has prepared it to do so. It is
much easier to get the body into trouble than it is to recover from that
trouble. The reasons are easy to understand with simple first-year physics.
The complex thermo-regulatory systems our bodies employ will be discussed,
and what happens when they fail. Both physics and physiology determine how
our body temperature varies. But, when the going gets tough, physiology loses
and physics wins.
How not to become hypothermic or hyperthermic yourself will also be discussed,
and what the options are if you do.