Philip Ball - Science writer

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home | Books | Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts

Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts

E-mail Print PDF

Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts, Shapes, a book by Philip Ball Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts, Flow Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts, Branches, a book by Philip Ball











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 in living or non-living systems, there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature. From a few general themes and the repetition of simple rules, endless beautiful variations can arise.

This series of three books explores the science of pattern formation in nature. SHAPES looks at the patterning of living organisms, from butterfly wings to leopard skins, body plans and even whole ecosystems. FLOW explains the mechanisms that create ripples in sand, the curling wisps of smoke, and the vortices of hurricanes and galaxies. BRANCHES reveals hidden rules that link forked lightning to cracks and networks of veins and rivers.

Out now (March 2009, June2009, September 2009).

Read reviews of this book



News from the author


Invisible:The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen

Published by Bodley Head, 2014.

Invisible presents the first comprehensive survey of the roles that the idea of invisibility has played throughout time and culture. This territory takes us from medieval grimoires to cutting-edge nanotechnology, from fairy tales to telecommunications, from camouflage to early cinematography, and from beliefs about ghosts to the dawn of nuclear physics and the discovery of dark energy. We need to attend to many voices: to Plato and Shakespeare, to James Clerk Maxwell and Victorian music-hall magicians. We will discover new worlds: some of them already known, some sheer fantasy, others whose existence has been asserted but is yet to be proved.