Why the Natural World Looks the Way it Does
"The most beautiful book of 2016."--Publishers Weekly "This cofee-table book showcases the spots, stripes, spirals, and fractals and other intricate patterns found in the natural world."--Live Science "This captivating book is a collection of stunning photographs that capture frequently repeating mathematical patterns in nature. These images depict patterns in living things, from pollen to animals, and in non-living things, from lightning to landscapes. Images are accompanied by brief, but clear, explanations for how these patterns can be generated by Fibonacci ratios, suggesting they result from simple self-organization. Excellent coffee table companion to the author's earlier Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts series, which describe in detail how physics and chemistry influence and interweave with evolution (biology) to create patterns and symmetry in nature. This book is a visual feast that can serve as a source of wonder and inspiration for artists and naturalists as well as scientists." --Forbes "Acclaimed English science writer Ball curates a visually striking, riotously colorful photographic display of the most dramatic examples of the 'sheer splendor' of physical patterns in the natural world. He lightly ties the work together with snippets of scientific history, using bits of physics, chemistry, and mathematics to show that although patterns in living beings can offer clear, functional evolutionary advantages, the small set of design elements that we can see--symmetries, branching fractals, spirals, flowing swirls, spots, and stripes--come from a basic set of organizing properties of growth and equilibrium seeking. . . . This is formidable eye candy for the I-love-science crowd, sure to spark a sense of impressed wonder at the beauty of our universe and our ability to photograph it." --Publishers Weekly "From tigers' stripes to the hexagons that make up honeycombs to the ripples in windblown sand, the natural world is full of order and regularity. Science writer Ball investigates the phenomenon in his new book, Patterns in Nature, with 250 photographs of snowflakes, shells, and more. Nature's patterns follow basic principles of mathematics and physics, leading to similarities in the stripes, spirals, branches and fractals around us. 'There's an abundance of detail in nature that we can't see," he says. "Even in what seems unstructured, there's pattern.'" --Wall Street Journal
A renowned science writer, Philip Ball lives in London. He worked for over twenty years as an editor for Nature, writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has authored many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture. His most recent books include Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen and Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler.