The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature

The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature

by Philip Ball
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0198502435

ISBN-13: 9780198502432

Pub. Date: 09/01/2001

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Why do similar patterns and forms appear in nature in settings that seem to bear no relation to one another? The Windblown ripples of desert sand follow a sinuous course that resembles the stripes of a zebra or a marine fish. In the trellis-like shells of microscopic sea creatures we see the same geometry as in the bubble walls of foam, Forks of lightning mirror the

Overview

Why do similar patterns and forms appear in nature in settings that seem to bear no relation to one another? The Windblown ripples of desert sand follow a sinuous course that resembles the stripes of a zebra or a marine fish. In the trellis-like shells of microscopic sea creatures we see the same geometry as in the bubble walls of foam, Forks of lightning mirror the branches of a river network or a tree.

This book explains why these are not coincidences. Nature commonly weaves its tapestry without any master plan or blueprint. Instead, these designs build themselves by self-organization. The interactions between the component parts -- whether they be grains of sand, molecules or living cells -- give rise to spontaneous patterns that are at the same time complex and beautiful. Many of these patterns are universal, recurring again and again in the natural order: spirals, spots, stripes, branches, honeycombs. Philip Ball conducts a profusely illustrated tour of this gallery, and reveals the secrets of how nature's patterns are made.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198502432
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/01/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

1Patterns1
2Bubbles16
3Waves50
4Bodies77
5Branches110
6Breakdowns140
7Fluids165
8Grains199
9Communities223
10Principles252
Appendices269
Bibliography276
Index283

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