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The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (The Virtual Laboratory) Hardcover – October 11, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0387972978 ISBN-10: 0387972978 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Virtual Laboratory
  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (October 11, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387972978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387972978
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,006,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This marvelous book will occupy an important place in the scientific literature." --Prof. Heinz-Otto Peitgen, author of The Beauty of Fractals "...will perform a valuable service by popularizing this enlightening and bewitching form of mathematics." --Steven Levy "...full of delights and an excellent introduction to L-systems" --Alvy Ray Smith, IEEE Graphics and its Applications

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Format: Hardcover
The beauty of plants has attracted the interest of mathematicians for centuries. Plants have many conspicuous geometric features such as symmetry in their leaves, rotational symmetry in their flowers, and then there are the interesting helical arrangements of pine cone scales. This book examines two factors that organize plant structures and therefore contribute to their beauty. The first is the simple elegance of the rules which describe plant development in relation to time. The second is self-similarity as characterized by Mandelbrot.

This book applies the basic idea inherent in recursive graphics programming to modeling natural organic phenomena to the greatest degree of accuracy possible. This book uses L-systems, which is a method of specifying rules that enables very complex ideas to be expressed in a very exact way. The book contains no information on specific programming language implementation. However, the L-system specification is given in enough detail that an implementation of a basic L-system compiler should be attainable by most programmers with a talent for efficient algorithms implementation and sufficient motivation. All of the graphics are done using either two or three dimensional turtle commands, which are also easily adapted to fit into whatever compiler you choose. Efficient display routines will require some work, and as most of the algorithms described produce very large amounts of data, speed is very important for all shapes apart from the most basic structures.

The results of using an L-system is quite impressive. The book contains many photographs of computer generated trees using L-systems that are almost identical to their natural counterparts. The book is very well written, with lots of examples and many illustrations.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
The color plates are quite extraordinary. Knowledge of math helps, but the book pretty much starts at Ground Zero. It is quite useable for those wishing to implement the plant modeling systems described (which is why I purchased it).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ezra e. k. Cooper on January 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful book with excellent color plates; it gives a precisely mathematical, yet not arcane, presentation of the ways botanical forms can be generated algorithmically. This gives insight into real plants and a fun set of computational tools to play with.

I discovered this book years ago, as a teenager, and just bought a copy to relive its pleasures.
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