Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nature by numbers

This is a still from a short movie Nature by Numbers - the topic is nothing new but what I found interesting is that  on the webpage there are links to the process of creating these animations.

I found another movie Geometry of Nature that is quite different - it talks about Henri Poincaré's mistake that led to the discovery of chaos. This movie is produced by BBC Two in connection with Open University.

Here is a little PBS podcast about Nature's Hidden Geometry - I liked there two things -

  • other people than me also saying that  formal geometry can be used only to the things humans have made, nature uses different geometry, and
  • mathematics and art is not so far from each other.
If this intrigues you, the whole program is called Fractals and can be seen in 5 parts.

Still I do not know any mathematics that would explain volcano eruption. I keep following the recent eruption in Iceland - volcano erupted the day after we left... I used some photos from that trip in previous blog entries. Now I can only imagine myself seeing scenes like this:
These are pictures from IcelandReview online (where you can find also amazing videos and other pictures) and used by permission.


  1. It seems to me that the mathematics of nature—or at least of living things— is the mathematics of diversity since that is what enables evolution to thrive. Formal geometry could be seen as the opposite, trying to create conformity. Just my half-asleep thoughts at 3 am.

  2. I am not seeing formal geometry as an opposite - in my book there is a chapter where I discuss different strands in the history of geometry,and one of them is patterns - humans first learned patterns from nature, then they tried to describe them,find a way how to make new ones. Just one way of looking to how geometry could have been born.