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Life's other secret : the new mathematics of the living world

Author: Ian Stewart
Publisher: New York : John Wiley, ©1998.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Is there an underlying set of principles that connects the pattern of a tiger's stripes with the design of a butterfly's wings? Are there hidden laws of life that lie deeper than DNA?" "According to award-winning science writer Ian Stewart, the answer is yes, and the hidden rules are called mathematics. In Life's Other Secret, Stewart exploits a realm of pattern and beauty that links the pulse of life with the  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Stewart, Ian, 1945-
Life's other secret.
New York : John Wiley, ©1998
(OCoLC)664545759
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Ian Stewart
ISBN: 0471158453 9780471158455 9780471296515 0471296511
OCLC Number: 37211069
Description: xiii, 285 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: ch. 1. What is life? --
ch. 2. Before life began --
ch. 3. Frozen accident --
ch. 4. Oxygen menace --
ch. 5. Artificial life --
ch. 6. Flowers for Fibonacci --
ch. 7. Morphogens and Mona Lisas --
ch. 8. Peacock's tale --
ch. 9. Walk on the wild side --
ch. 10. Exaltation of boids --
ch. 11. Reef wars --
ch. 12. In search of secrets.
Responsibility: Ian Stewart.
More information:

Abstract:

"Is there an underlying set of principles that connects the pattern of a tiger's stripes with the design of a butterfly's wings? Are there hidden laws of life that lie deeper than DNA?" "According to award-winning science writer Ian Stewart, the answer is yes, and the hidden rules are called mathematics. In Life's Other Secret, Stewart exploits a realm of pattern and beauty that links the pulse of life with the creative enterprise of mathematics." "Pointing to what he describes as an exaggerated emphasis on the power of DNA in determining the shape and behavior of life-forms, Stewart compares DNA to a recipe book of ingredients, quantities, and sequences: very useful, but far from a complete plan of the final result. Beneath the genes lies the rich texture of the physical universe with its deep patterns, forms, structures, processes, and systems - a world of infinite subtlety that can be described only through mathematics. Genes may move a life-form in a specific direction, but it is the mathematical laws of chemistry and physics that control an organism's response to its genetic instructions." "With the visionary work of the zoologist D'Arcy Thompson as his touchstone, Stewart unfolds a series of dazzling mathematical patterns in the organic world: the ethereal spiral of the nautilus shell, the fluid forms of a jellyfish, the boastful beauty of the peacock's tail, and the amazing numerology of floral petals. He leads us to a place where number and nature coalesce, and where the order of mathematics manifests itself in life."--Jacket.

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