- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199237964
- ISBN-13: 978-0199237968
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shapes: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts 1st Edition
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"Highly recommended. Ball is an inspired generalist who is able to take different intellectual and academic perspectives, as well as wildly divergent natural phenomena, and weave them into a coherent tapestry that will serve the professional and the casual reader alike. The writing is both precise and readable, and the generous illustrations are fascinating, informative, and consistently well done. Although a number of works like this have been published in recent years, few have been of similar quality. These three volumes are a worthwhile addition to any library collection."--Choice
"From the curl of a ram's horn to patterns of spider webs and the development of an embryo, Mr. Ball examines the possible causes of the shapes and forms we observe...a lot of fascinating detail about the different physical, chemical and evolutionary processes at work."--The Economist
"Provide[s] a window into all that's fascinating in nature, skimming from pattern to pattern in prose and history, shedding light on the physical and chemical forces behind nature's tapestry without losing readers in the math." --Seed Magazine
About the Author
Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He is a regular commentator in the scientific and popular media on science and its interactions with art, history and culture. His ten books on scientific subjects include The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, H2O: A Biography of Water, The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. He was awarded the 2006 James T. Grady - James H. Stack award by the American Chemical Society for interpreting chemistry for the public. Philip studied chemistry at Oxford and holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Bristol. His latest book The Music Instinct published in February 2010.
Top customer reviews
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The book is clear, the topics covered are extensive, the explanations and arguments clear and easy to understand, the evidence incontrovertible, and the illustrations plentiful and to the point. The colour plates are well reproduced, but the black and white photographs are not very sharp. It's a great book to read and to follow up with the other 2 books of the trilogy - 'Flow' and "Branches'.
Once I got past those problems: WOW. I've been studying fractal math for a long time and this book was exactly what I needed. He may not split things into decent paragraphs ever, but I took a lot of notes and the vocabulary I got from this book is going to be really, really helpful. I've been searching for the terminology of these shapes for a long time (to the point where some of my notes have "I need a word for this, therefore I'll just coin one of my own!") and this had it all and more. The difference between "self-avoiding" vs "vascular" vs "scale-less", and the already-developed math that people have already found so I don't have to!
It's -awesome- if you know what he's talking about to begin with. I almost shelved it after fighting with the slow start and the really crappy formatting, and I'm very very glad I didn't.