It draws on and combines a number of specialities, requiring the naturalist's ability to observe closely, the mechanical or chemical engineer's ability to synthesize, the designer's ability to adapt and streamline. It is appealing for the sheer scope of the imagination it sets in motion, yet, at the same time, it is a most practical, immediately productive area of research. If all this sounds more like a riddle being posed than a definition, it is because bionics has not yet been officially defined and even the name for the speciality is still in doubt. In bionics, scientists study such animal secrets as a bat's radar or a seal's ability to submerge or a polar bear's temperature and try to figure out how can use the secret to his own purpose. One national magazine has referred to bionic studies as ""evolution in reverse, ""implying the growth and development of forgotten secrets. The author, a science/technical writer, makes his subject one of present excitement and suggests many of the still unsolved mysteries in nature. Some of these (or parts of them) seem suited to student investigation for science projects.