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Mathematics in nature

Alan Turing believed that all the patterns in living beings, both visible and invisible, were the result of invisible mathematical processes, as Pythagoras had more than 2000 years ago. Things as diverse as the shape of broccoli and black spots on a dalmatian all had a similar mathematical explanation behind them.

Many forms observed in nature can be related to geometry, for sound reasons of resource optimization. It’s all a matter of efficiency. For example, a sunflower can pack in the most seeds if each seed is separated by an angle that’s an irrational number.

A great many plants produce petals, leaves, and seeds in the Fibonacci sequence (each number in the sequence being determined by adding the two preceding numbers together). Just try counting the number of seed spirals in a pine cone, pineapple or artichoke.

All plants grow and develop in a fractal-like way, a fractal being a complex pattern where each part of a thing has the same geometric pattern as the whole. So with romanseco broccoli, each floret presents the same logarithmic spiral as the whole head (just miniaturized). Essentially, the entire vegetable is one big spiral composed of smaller, cone-like buds that are also mini-spirals.

I find the geometry of nature to be both beautiful and fascinating and in this project I attempt to capture the essence of both aspects.