Nature’s Tapestry – Patterns in nature.
Nature is a master of art, and patterns in nature are a testament to that. These patterns are visible regularities of form found in the natural world, and they recur in different contexts and can sometimes be modeled mathematically 1. Some of the most common natural patterns include symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks, and stripes 1.
The study of patterns in nature has a long history, with early Greek philosophers such as Plato, Pythagoras, and Empedocles attempting to explain order in nature 1. The modern understanding of visible patterns developed gradually over time. In the 19th century, the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau examined soap films, leading him to formulate the concept of a minimal surface 1. The German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel painted hundreds of marine organisms to emphasize their symmetry 1. Scottish biologist D’Arcy Thompson pioneered the study of growth patterns in both plants and animals, showing that simple equations could explain spiral growth 1. In the 20th century, the British mathematician Alan Turing predicted mechanisms of morphogenesis which give rise to patterns of spots and stripes 1. The Hungarian biologist Aristid Lindenmayer and the French-American mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot showed how the mathematics of fractals could create plant growth patterns 1.
If you’re interested in learning more about patterns in nature, I recommend checking out the Wikipedia page on topic 1. It provides a comprehensive overview of the different types of patterns found in nature, as well as their history and mathematical modeling. You might also enjoy reading “The Science Behind Nature’s Patterns” by Smithsonian Magazine 2, which explores the physical and chemical reasons behind incredible visual structures in the living and non-living world.