Branches: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts

Branches: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts

by Philip Ball
     
 

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As part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball here looks at the form and growth of branching networks in the natural world, and what we can learn from them.

Many patterns in nature show a branching form - trees, river deltas, blood vessels, lightning, the cracks that form in the glazing of pots.

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Overview

As part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball here looks at the form and growth of branching networks in the natural world, and what we can learn from them.

Many patterns in nature show a branching form - trees, river deltas, blood vessels, lightning, the cracks that form in the glazing of pots. These networks share a peculiar geometry, finding a compromise between disorder and determinism, though some, like the hexagonal snowflake or the stones of the Devil's Causeway fall into a rigidly ordered structure. Branching networks are found at every level in biology - from the single cell to the ecosystem. Human-made networks too can come to share the same features, and if they don't, then it might be profitable to make them do so: nature's patterns tend to arise from economical solutions.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly recommended. Ball is an inspired generalist who is able to take different intellectual and academic perspectives, as well as wildly divergent natural phenomena, and weave them into a coherent tapestry that will serve the professional and the casual reader alike. The writing is both precise and readable, and the generous illustrations are fascinating, informative, and consistently well done. Although a number of works like this have been published in recent years, few have been of similar quality. These three volumes are a worthwhile addition to any library collection."—Choice

"Provide[s] a window into all that's fascinating in nature, skimming from pattern to pattern in prose and history, shedding light on the physical and chemical forces behind nature's tapestry without losing readers in the math." —Seed Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199604883
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/07/2011
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,374,331
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.40(d)

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