Synopses & Reviews
Compared to the obvious complexity of animals, plants at a glance seem relatively simple in form. But that simplicity is deceptive: the plants around us are the result of millennia of incredible evolutionary adaptations that have allowed them to survive, and thrive, under wildly changing conditions and in remarkably specific ecological niches. Much of this innovation, however, is invisible to the naked eye.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; With Wonders of the Plant Kingdom, the naked eye gets an unforgettable boost. A stunning collaboration between science and art, this gorgeous book presents hundreds of images of plants taken with a scanning electron microscope and hand-colored by artist Rob Kesseler to reveal the awe-inspiring adaptations all around us. The surface of a peachand#151;with its hairs, or trichomes, and sunken stomata, or breathing poresand#151;emerges from these pages in microscopic detail. The dust-like seeds of the smallest cactus species in the world, the Blossfeldia liliputanaand#151;which measures just twelve millimeters fully grownand#151;explode here with form, color, and character, while the flower bud of a kaffir lime, cross-sectioned, reveals the complex of a flower bud with the all-important pistil in the center.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Accompanying these extraordinary images are up-to-date explanations of the myriad ways that these plants have ensured their own survivaland#151;and, by proxy, our own. Gardeners and science buffs alike will marvel at this wholly new perspective on the world of plant diversity.
"Arthur I. Miller understands the intersection of art and science better than anyone writing today. In , he brilliantly helps us expand our definitions of art and science while encouraging us to appreciate how both involve an intuitive feel for the beauty of the unseen." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Arthur I. Miller explores what happens when the brainwaves, objectivity and logic of science spark off the inspiration, subjectivity and wildness of art, and vice versa. After tracing out the contacts between these spheres of endeavor, Miller goes even further, suggesting that the boundaries between them are breaking down: science is redefining contemporary art to seed a third culture." Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
"Arthur I. Miller's answers the age-old question of whether art and science can find common ground with a resounding YES! From the foundations of Cubism to bacterial radios, fluorescent rabbits, and musical hyper-instruments, Miller's easygoing, anecdotal, and wide-ranging narrative shows how artists exploit cutting-edge advances in science and technology to alter dramatically the palette of artistic invention." Roger Highfield, director of external affairs, Science Museum, London
"[Arthur I. Miller] deftly demonstrates in this survey of what he calls "artsci" [that] both artists and scientists...have probed the porous borders between art and science, creating aesthetic objects that incorporate scientific ideas... Miller eloquently chronicles the story of artsci in brief vignettes of the lives and works of the individuals working at the intersections of these disciplines." New York Times Book Review
"Arthur I. Miller has the rare intellectual range to address the ways modern scientific discoveries have nourished the creativity of artists--and that's what he's done in this fine book." Mark Pagel, author of Wired for Culture
"[An] encyclopedic survey... Dr. Miller's grasp of the scene is impressive." Jascha Hoffman
"Illuminating... [A] philosophically rich study of creativity and aesthetics." Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and author of From Here to Infinity
andquot;The pseudocolored electron micrographs that grace the pages of this striking book reveal the dazzling array of adaptations in the plant kingdom. Featuring a wide range of seeds, spores, fruits, and pollen, the accompanying text offers a straightforward primer on plant reproduction as well as a discussion of the Royal Botanic Gardensand#39; efforts to protect plant biodiversity.andquot;
A andquot;Recent Publication of Interestandquot;: andquot;Spectacular color photographs and hand-colored scanning electron micrographs are accompanied by short blocks of text explaining botanical phenomena. The text focuses on flowers and their structures and on ecological interactions (pollination and seed dispersal).andquot;
Miller, the author of Einstein, Picasso and other celebrated books on science and creativity, traces the movement from its seeds a century ago when Einstein s theory of relativity helped shape the thinking of the Cubists to its flowering today. Through interviews with innovative thinkers and artists across disciplines, Miller shows with verve and clarity how discoveries in biotechnology, cosmology, quantum physics, and beyond are animating the work of designers like Neri Oxman, musicians like David Toop, and the artists-in-residence at CERN s Large Hadron Collider.
From NanoArt to Big Data, Miller reveals the extraordinary possibilities when art and science collide.
From a “master at capturing the intersection of creativity and intelligence” (Walter Isaacson), an eye-popping look at artists incorporating science into their work.
In recent decades, an exciting new art movement has emerged in which artists utilize and illuminate the latest advances in science. Some of their provocative creations--a live rabbit implanted with the fluorescent gene of a jellyfish, a gigantic glass-and-chrome sculpture of the Big Bang (pictured on the cover)--can be seen in traditional art museums and magazines, while others are being made by leading designers at Pixar, Google's Creative Lab, and the MIT Media Lab. In , Arthur I. Miller takes readers on a wild journey to explore this new frontier.
A dazzling look at the artists working on the frontiers of science.
Many of the most remarkable features of plants cannot be seen by the human eye.and#160; The amazing geometric structures of pollen grains, or the dust-like seeds of orchids, to the layered innards ofand#160; a fruit ripe for pollination.and#160; Evolutionary adaptations over thousands of years have resulted in forms of exceptional function and beauty, which alight in the pages of this work.and#160; A wonderful marriage of art and science, the pages of this book dissect and reveal the stunning structures and forms of plants, taking readers on a journey through the unseen world of the plant kingdom.and#160; The unusual and extraordinary images, taken by scanning electron microscope, are accompanied by a text that illuminates for a wide readership the structure and form of pollen, seeds and fruit, their role in preserving the biodiversity of our planet, and the means, often devious, by which they ensure their survival, and ultimately, that of our natural world.
About the Author
WolfgangStuppy is a seed morphologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.Rob Kesseler is professor of ceramic art and design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Together, they are coauthors of Seeds: Time Capsules of Life and Fruit: Edible, Inedible, Incredible.Madeline Harley was, until her retirement in 2005, head of the Pollen Research Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She is coauthor, with Rob Kesseler, of Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers.
Table of Contents
The Incredible Life of Plants
The difference between pollen, spores and seed
Those who copulate in secret and#8226; No match for a seed
An invisible microcosm and#8226; Apertures and#8226; Finding the other half
Pollination by wind and water and#8226; Pollination by animals
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and#8226; The insect
pollination syndrome and#8226; Bee flowers and#8226; Butterfly and moth flowers
Flies and beetles as pollinators and#8226; The bird pollination syndrome
The bat pollination syndrome and#8226; Typical bat flowers
Exotic pollinators and#8226; The advantages of animal pollination
Fruits and Seeds
What is a fruit and what is a vegetable? and#8226; The true nature of fruits
The various ways to get around and#8226; Wind dispersal and#8226; Seeds like dust
Masterpieces of Nature and#8226; Indirect wind dispersal
Water dispersal and#8226; Rafters and sailors and#8226; Sea beans
The biggest seed in the world and#8226; Explosive strategies
Animal couriers and#8226; Tenacious hitchhikers and#8226; Caltrops, deviland#8217;s claws
and other sadistic fruits and#8226; Reward rather than punishment
Small rewards for little helpers and#8226; Juicy temptations
Colourful appendages and#8226; Fraudsters of the plant kingdom
The everlasting beauty of plants
The and#8216;Making Of and#8217; Wonders of the Plant Kingdom:
How Science Becomes Art
The Millennium Seed Bank:
The Worldand#8217;s Largest Plant Conservation Initiative
Glossary and#8226; Bibliography and#8226; Index
Acknowledgments and#8226; Picture Credits