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Life's Other Secret: New Mathematics of the Living World (Allen Lane… (original 1999; edition 1999)
by Ian Stewart
Life's Other Secret: The New Mathematics of the Living World by Ian Stewart (1999)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0471296511, Paperback)"Stewart writes with such compelling clarity that general readers can share in the intellectual daring of his perspective."—Booklist An invitation to a hidden world In Life’s Other Secret, mathematician and award-winning science writer Ian Stewart reveals the way mathematics describes the origin, structure, and evolution of life. Featuring a sumptuous gallery of color illustrations demonstrating nature’s intricate wonders, here is an intriguing invitation to enter a world deeper than DNA, a world where number series bloom in springtime and equations gallop across the plains. From the latest theory of how life started to the rules governing the shapes into which animals grow to the ancient patterns of evolution, Stewart illuminates the fundamental forces that shape our world.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:51 -0400)
"Is there an underlying set of principles that connects the pattern of a tiger's stripes with the design of a butterfly's wings? Are there hidden laws of life that lie deeper than DNA?" "According to award-winning science writer Ian Stewart, the answer is yes, and the hidden rules are called mathematics. In Life's Other Secret, Stewart exploits a realm of pattern and beauty that links the pulse of life with the creative enterprise of mathematics." "Pointing to what he describes as an exaggerated emphasis on the power of DNA in determining the shape and behavior of life-forms, Stewart compares DNA to a recipe book of ingredients, quantities, and sequences: very useful, but far from a complete plan of the final result. Beneath the genes lies the rich texture of the physical universe with its deep patterns, forms, structures, processes, and systems - a world of infinite subtlety that can be described only through mathematics. Genes may move a life-form in a specific direction, but it is the mathematical laws of chemistry and physics that control an organism's response to its genetic instructions." "With the visionary work of the zoologist D'Arcy Thompson as his touchstone, Stewart unfolds a series of dazzling mathematical patterns in the organic world: the ethereal spiral of the nautilus shell, the fluid forms of a jellyfish, the boastful beauty of the peacock's tail, and the amazing numerology of floral petals. He leads us to a place where number and nature coalesce, and where the order of mathematics manifests itself in life."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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