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Life Sciences - Animal Sciences | The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells

The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells

Meinhardt, Hans

4th ed. 2009, XIV, 269p. With CD-ROM.

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  • A fascinating reconstruction of the processes forming the patterns on the shells of tropical sea snails
  • Corresponding algorithms are described in detail

The patterns on the shells of tropical sea snails are not only compellingly beautiful but also tell a tale of biological development. The decorative patterns are records of their own genesis, which follows laws like those of dune formation or the spread of a flu epidemic. Hans Meinhardt has analyzed the dynamical processes that form these patterns and retraced them faithfully in computer simulations. His book is exciting not only for the astonishing scientific knowledge it reveals but also for its fascinating pictures.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » algorithms - artificial life - computer graphics - computer simulation - dynamic processes - growth processes - natural phenomena - simulation - visualization

Related subjects » Animal Sciences - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Image Processing - Life Sciences - Systems Biology and Bioinformatics

Table of contents 

Shell patterns as dynamic systems.- Pattern formation.- Oscillation and travelling waves.- Superposition of stable and periodic patterns.- Meshwork of oblique lines and staggered dots.- Branch initiation by global control.- The big problem: two or more time-dependent patterns.- Triangles.- Parallel lines with tongues.- Shell models in three dimensions.- The computer program.- Appendix: Pattern formation in the development of higher-level organisms.

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