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Shapes: Nature's patterns: a tapestry in three parts [Format Kindle]

Philip Ball

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Review from previous edition Wideranging, intelligent and non-dogmatic trilogy of books. (Martin Kemp, Times Literary Supplement)

Philip Ball gives us some very interesting food for thought. (Mark Ronan, Standpoint)

Ball has opened a welcome window on a little-understood but thought-provoking aspect of the making of the natural world. (Alan Cane, Financial Times)

Fascinating detail. (The Economist)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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? It creates itself. The patterns we see come from self-organization. Whether living or non-living, scientists have found that there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature, so that from a few simple themes, and the repetition of simple rules, endless
beautiful variations can arise.

Part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball here looks at how shapes form. From soap bubbles to honeycombs, delicate shell patterns, and even the developing body parts of a complex animal like ourselves, he uncovers patterns in growth and form in all corners of the natural world, explains how these patterns are self-made, and why similar shapes and structures may be found in very different settings, orchestrated by nothing more
than simple physical forces. This book will make you look at the world with fresh eyes, seeing order and form even in the places you'd least expect.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  6 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Take a closer look at nature with fresh eyes, to recognize its amazing shapes and forms 7 août 2011
Par Didaskalex - Publié sur
"If the phrases 'bicontinous periodic minimal surface' and 'reaction-diffusion process' make you break out in a cold sweat, this isn't a book for you. If your brain is still working and you're curious what daffodils and fingerprints, catalytic converters and leopard spots, or soap films and butterfly wings may have in common." -- A witty reviewer

Patterns are dominant in nature's dramatic disclosure, from the clouds hovering in the sky, to petals disposition in flowers. Where do the patterns we observe come from? Scientists have found that there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature, so that from a few simple themes, and the repetition of simple rules, endless beautiful compositions can evolve. From the patterns of spider's webs to the curl of a ram's horn, Philip Ball examines the genesis and antecedents of the shapes and forms we observe in physical and biological world. In the end, he concludes, nature is an opportunist. One of Ball's heroes, Sir D'Arcy Thompson, a pioneering mathematical biologist, remembered for his book, On Growth and Form, may have inspired him to write his book 'Forms', that contains a lot of fascinating detail about various physical, chemical and possible evolutionary processes at work.

He wonders why do honeycombs have a hexagonal shape? Why are the flowerets in a sunflower arranged in a clothoid or double spiral, a curve whose curvature grows with the distance from the origin? Most scientists would rather call on Charles Darwin to elucidate on these patterns as a random product of evolution, emerging from innumerable variations of possible shapes through natural selection. In the 18th century René de Réaumur, a French scientist, proved that the hexagon guarantee that worker bees fill the cells space efficiently while minimizing the total cellular wall area. In other words, hexagonal cells allow bees to focus on maximizing honey production and expend the least amount of energy making wax. Darwin used the beehive as an example of evolutionary progress, while Thompson argued for a less complicated physical explanation, arguing that natural selection need not be taken into consideration at all.

One of a trilogy of books exploring the analysis of patterns in nature, British writer and science populizer Philip Ball, examines how shapes from soap bubbles to honeycombs can evolve. He uncovers patterns in growth and forming in the four corners of the natural world, explaining how these patterns are formed. This book will make you take a closer look at nature with fresh eyes, and recognize amazing shapes and forms in places you would least expect. Ball is an inspired science writer, gifted to examine divergent natural phenomena and link different intellectual and academic perspectives of relative significance, weave them into a an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent tapestry that will marvel the professional and the lay reader alike. The writing is both fascinating and engaging, with nice informative illustrations.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Shapes, nature's tapestry, an outstandingly beautifully written book book 13 octobre 2012
Par kychan - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I had always considered D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson's book 'On Growth and Form' On Growth and Form the best book of its kind, but Philip Ball's 1st book of his trilogy on nature's tapestry made clear that so much scientific advances have been made since Thompson's book was written. All these advances are clearly expounded in this book, and we profit greatly from a newer and more accurate understanding of mechanisms behind nature's wonderful display of forms. Nonetheless, 'Shapes' is still very much in the tradition of Thompson's book pointing us to the fact that the wonders of nature can be explained by reductive and empirical principles, not needing any magical or supernatural forces.

The book is clear, the topics covered are extensive, the explanations and arguments clear and easy to understand, the evidence incontrovertible, and the illustrations plentiful and to the point. The colour plates are well reproduced, but the black and white photographs are not very sharp. It's a great book to read and to follow up with the other 2 books of the trilogy - 'Flow' and "Branches'.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lalarose 5 août 2012
Par Rose - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is an AMAZING book- for the artist, the philosopher,the mathemetician or the person who marvels at the structure of the world. You will never look at the world the same.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 excellent series 1 avril 2013
Par C. McConnell - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Ball is a remarkable writer, both for the topics he chooses and for the clarity and depth he brings to each. I recommend reading "tapestry" in order (Shapes, Flow, Branches) as the three books started life as one larger book. In any case, having read "Shapes" one is very likely to want to read the others. The basic issue--what are the sources of the visual order (and disorder) we see in the world--is one that engages the realms of art, the natural sciences, and even the social sciences. Only a true polymath can bring off this sort of inquiry, and clearly Ball is one.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book 28 septembre 2011
Par Todd R. Scheithauer - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I love the way this author uses real life examples to put the flow into the mix and then branches is quite a learning experience, if you wanna learn about the itty bitty , this book is for you!
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