- Paperback: 1116 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised edition (June 23, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486671356
- ISBN-13: 978-0486671352
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.3 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Growth and Form: The Complete Revised Edition Paperback – June 23, 1992
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First published in 1917, On Growth and Form was at once revolutionary and conservative. Scottish embryologist D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948) grew up in the newly cast shadow of Darwinism, and he took issue with some of the orthodoxies of the day--not because they were necessarily wrong, he said, but because they violated the spirit of Occam's razor, in which simple explanations are preferable to complex ones. In the case of such subjects as the growth of eggs, skeletons, and crystals, Thompson cited mathematical authority: these were matters of "economy and transformation," and they could be explained by laws governing surface tension and the like. (He doubtless would have enjoyed the study of fractals, which came after his time.) In On Growth and Form, he examines such matters as the curve of frequency or bell curve (which explains variations in height among 10-year-old schoolboys, the florets of a daisy, the distribution of darts on a cork board, the thickness of stripes along a zebra's flanks, the shape of mountain ranges and sand dunes) and spirals (which turn up everywhere in nature you look: in the curve of a seashell, the swirl of water boiling in a saucepan, the sweep of faraway nebulae, the twist of a strand of DNA, the turns of the labyrinth in which the legendary Minotaur lived out its days). The result is an astonishingly varied book that repays skimming and close reading alike. English biologist Sir Peter Medawar called Thompson's tome "beyond comparison the finest work of literature in all the annals of science that have been recorded in the English tongue." --Gregory McNamee
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On the last page is an imprint that indicates that this "book" was manufactured after I ordered it. Clearly this is a reconstruction from stored photographic or digital images. I am not against new technology per se, but it should produce a result at least as good as the technology it replaces. This does not.
Another person to offer comments as far back as July, 2011, (Sarah) pointed out this defective presentation of grey on grey, and yet you have been incapable or unwilling to respond to her critique in the two years since it was posted. Do you even read these comments? I ordered a book; instead you sent me an experience of frustration and dismay. I ordered a book; you sent me an optical illusion of a book.
This book affords the deep and sensitive mind an I depth romp far deeper and beyond the Ken of such brilliant minds as Von Humbolt or Darwim. But beware because D'arcy Wentworth Thimpson was not only the last of the great polymaths. He may have been the greatest. .
It inspired the field of morphology. Check that one out.