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This title in other editions

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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Patterns are everywhere in nature--in the ranks of clouds in the sky, the stripes of an angelfish, the arrangement of petals in flowers. Where does this order and regularity come from? As Philip Ball reveals in Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts, this order creates itself. The patterns we see come from self-organization. Indeed, scientists have found that there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature, whether living or non-living, so that from a few simple themes, and the repetition of simple rules, endless beautiful variations can arise.

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.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He is a regular commentator in the scientific and popular media on science and its interactions with art, history and culture. His ten books on scientific subjects include The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, H2O: A Biography of Water, The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. He was awarded the 2006 James T. Grady - James H. Stack award by the American Chemical Society for interpreting chemistry for the public. Philip studied chemistry at Oxford and holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Bristol. His latest book The Music Instinct published in February 2010.

Table of Contents

1. A Winter's Tale: The Six-Pointed Snowflake

2. Tenuous Monsters: Shapes Between Dimensions

3. Just For the Crack: Clean Breaks and Ragged Ruptures

4. Water Ways: Labyrinths in the Landscape

5. Tree and Leaf: Branches in Biology

6. Web Worlds: Why We're All in This Together

7. The Threads of the Tapestry: Principles of Pattern

Bibliography

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199237982
Author:
Ball, Philip
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Philip
Subject:
General Nature
Subject:
General
Subject:
Chemistry - General
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
System Theory
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Life sciences
Subject:
Nature Studies-General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
140 b/w illus., 4pp color plate section
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.81x5.92x.73 in. .92 lbs.

Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Systems Theory
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Branches: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts New Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199237982 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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