Monday, November 11, 2013

The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature - Philip Ball

Seashells are often spirals, just like water going down the drain. There must be a connection, right? Our intuition scoffs at such a notion, but maybe they are related, writes Nature editor Philip Ball in The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature. This deep, beautiful exploration of the recurring patterns that we find both in the living and inanimate worlds will change how you think about everything from evolution to earthquakes.

Ball seeks to go beyond the theory of natural selection, which explains why we see certain characteristics (height, shape, camouflage), to find mechanisms that can explain how such characteristics come to be. He investigates specific patterns in depth, revealing that these designs are self-organized and that simple, local interactions between component parts produce motifs like spots, stripes, branches, and honeycombs. The Self-Made Tapestry is a challenging look at the biggest issues in science, and well worth a thorough read. Amazon

P.S Thanks to Eli for the suggestion.

File size: 10 MB
Format: pdf

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