By Nature's Design

By Nature's Design

by Pat Murphy
     
 

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The beauty and symmetry of the natural world come alive in this inspired collaboration between acclaimed nature photographer William Neill and San Francisco's famous hands-on science museum, the Exploratorium. Exquisite, full-color photographs unveil the secret blueprints of nature often overlooked by the casual observer: the spiral forms that appear in seashells,…  See more details below

Overview

The beauty and symmetry of the natural world come alive in this inspired collaboration between acclaimed nature photographer William Neill and San Francisco's famous hands-on science museum, the Exploratorium. Exquisite, full-color photographs unveil the secret blueprints of nature often overlooked by the casual observer: the spiral forms that appear in seashells, spiderwebs, and the heart of a daisy; the hexagons found in honeycombs and cracking mud. Through its captivating photographic content and accessible scientific examination. By Nature's Design reaveals the order, economy, and elegance of nature's diverse forms in an engaging volume that will fascinate and inform art and nature lovers alike.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Photographer Neill, in conjunction with writer Murphy, has produced a lively, intriguing look at natural patterns. The book is divided into six chapters, each introduced with a short, two-page essay, then illustrated with lavish color photographs. From spirals and helixes to branches to fractals, Neill provides a delightful overview of many of nature's outstanding design features. Over and over the photographs emphasize nature's preference for compactness and order. Neill encourages a sense of wonder when he catches the reader by surprise while illustrating how two completely separate phenomena demonstrate the same kind of pattern. He even demonstrates that there is a pattern when none is apparent, as when looking at mountains or a coastline. In an afterword, he adds technical detail and notes on his technique. This is a work to browse and enjoy. For general science collections.-- Randy Dykhuis, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
School Library Journal
YA-A unique book that can be appreciated on many different levels. Murphy begins with the hypothesis that all humans find solace in patterns-in life and in the natural world. He asserts that symmetry in nature brings the world into focus and attempts to use scientific principles to define these design formations. The extraordinary-quality photographs are divided among six chapters with each section prefaced by a fairly concise, scholarly explanation of the theories, both geometrical and mathematical, demonstrated in the pictures. If nothing else, it is a beautiful browsing book. Art and photography students are sure to have their creativity stimulated by the photos, which range from panoramas to zoom shots of minute details. The repetitive designs found throughout are worthy of study. The afterword includes a discussion of camera types, lenses, and film used. While certainly not light reading, By Nature's Design will be of interest to YAs with a feeling for theoretical thinking.-Nancy Filbey, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Booknews
Than Chronicle Books, only rare publishers do better color work. This 10x10" work reinforces that judgement. By Nature's Design, an Exploratorium (San Francisco) book, depicts sticks and stones, fronds and meanders in exquisite detail (taking too close a look for one who admires landscapes) in some 120 pages of photos by William Neal. The text is very simple--could be written for the young. Fine coffee table book. Paper edition (0329-5), $18.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811803298
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
09/01/1993
Series:
Exploratorium Book Series
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Wiliam Neill -- whose photographs have illustrated numerous publications including Sierra, Conde Nast Traveler, and Outside -- is a longtime resident of Yosemite National Park and has his own Web Site at www.williamneill.com.

Pat Murphy -- senior writer and editor of the Exploratorium Quarterly for over a decade -- is also an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. She lives in San Francisco.

Diane Ackerman is the author of A Natural History of the Senses and A Natural History of Love as well as a host of her own televsions series.

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