Hits, Misses and Close Calls

Hits, Misses and Close Calls: An Image Essay on Pattern Formation in “On Growth and Form”
The preprint of an article published in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 38.1, 74 (2013).

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Turing Patterns

An extended version of an article published in Chemistry World, June 2012. Download PDF.

Pattern formation in nature

Pattern formation in nature: Physical constraints and self-organizing characteristics
An article to appear in a special issue of Architectural Design, 2011.

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Patterns in art and nature

Patterns in art and nature: a talk delivered at Dulwich Picture Gallery, May 2003.
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PATTERNS IN ART AND NATURE – Philip Ball Notes for a talk delivered at Dulwich Picture Gallery, May 2003
This talk is accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation

Fingal’s Cave on the island of Staffa, near Mull in Scotland, has inspired artists (this is Turner) and composers – Felix Mendelsohn wrote his orchestral piece named after the cave in 1829. But it also made an impression on an awestruck Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, when he sailed to Staffa in 1772 during an expedition to Iceland. This is what he said:

    “Compared to this what are the cathedrals or palaces built by men! Mere models or playthings, as diminutive as his works will always be when compared with those of nature. What now is the boast of the architect! Regularity, the only part in which he fancied himself to exceed his mistress, Nature, is here found in her possession, and here it has been for ages undescribed.”

Banks had noticed that the entrance to the cave was flanked by these great pillars of rock. Close up, you can see the regularity that Banks spoke about: hexagonal cross-sections. …

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