The Virtual Laboratory

The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells

Authors: Meinhardt, Hans

  • A fascinating reconstruction of the processes forming the patterns on the shells of tropical sea snails.
  • The corresponding algorithms are described in detail.
  • An accompanying diskette gives all the algorithms for simulating the natural pattern formation and growth processes on a PC.
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eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-662-03617-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
About this book

The pigment patterns on tropieal shells are of great beauty and diversity. They fas­ cinate by their mixture of regularity and irregularity. A partieular pattern seems to follow partieular mIes but these mIes allow variations. No two shells are identical. The motionless patterns appear to be static, and, indeed, they consist of calcified material. However, as will be shown in this book, the underlying mechanism that gene rates this beauty is eminently dynamic. It has much in common with other dynamie systems that generate patterns, such as a wind-sand system that forms large dunes, or rain and erosion that form complex ramified river systems. On other shells the underlying mechanism has much in common with waves such as those commonly observed in the spread of an epidemie. A mollusc can enlarge its shell only at the shell margin. In most cases, only at this margin are new elements of the pigmentation pattern added. Therefore, the shell pattern preserves arecord in time of a process that took place in a narrow zone at the growing edge. A certain point on the shell represents a certain moment in its history. Like a time machine one can go into the past or the future just by turning the shell back and forth. Having this complete historieal record opens the possibility of decoding the generic principles behind this beauty. My interest in these patterns began with a dinner in an Italian restaurant.

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Shell patterns — a natural picture book to study dynamic systems and biological pattern formation

    Meinhardt, Hans

    Pages 1-18

  • Pattern formation by local self-enhancement and long range inhibition

    Meinhardt, Hans

    Pages 19-40

  • Oscillations and travelling waves

    Meinhardt, Hans

    Pages 41-52

  • Superposition of stable and periodic patterns

    Meinhardt, Hans

    Pages 53-70

  • Crossings, meshwork of oblique lines and staggered dots: the combined action of two antagonists

    Meinhardt, Hans

    Pages 71-90

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-662-03617-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells
Authors
Series Title
The Virtual Laboratory
Copyright
1998
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
eBook ISBN
978-3-662-03617-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-662-03617-4
Series ISSN
1431-939X
Edition Number
2
Number of Pages
XI, 236
Number of Illustrations and Tables
133 b/w illustrations, 267 illustrations in colour
Topics