Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Sep 10, 2006 - Mathematics - 360 pages
0 Reviews

From rainbows, river meanders, and shadows to spider webs, honeycombs, and the markings on animal coats, the visible world is full of patterns that can be described mathematically. Examining such readily observable phenomena, this book introduces readers to the beauty of nature as revealed by mathematics and the beauty of mathematics as revealed in nature.

Generously illustrated, written in an informal style, and replete with examples from everyday life, Mathematics in Nature is an excellent and undaunting introduction to the ideas and methods of mathematical modeling. It illustrates how mathematics can be used to formulate and solve puzzles observed in nature and to interpret the solutions. In the process, it teaches such topics as the art of estimation and the effects of scale, particularly what happens as things get bigger. Readers will develop an understanding of the symbiosis that exists between basic scientific principles and their mathematical expressions as well as a deeper appreciation for such natural phenomena as cloud formations, halos and glories, tree heights and leaf patterns, butterfly and moth wings, and even puddles and mud cracks.

Developed out of a university course, this book makes an ideal supplemental text for courses in applied mathematics and mathematical modeling. It will also appeal to mathematics educators and enthusiasts at all levels, and is designed so that it can be dipped into at leisure.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Confluence of Nature and Mathematical Modeling
1
Estimation The Power of Arithmetic in Solving Fermi Problems
17
Shape Size and Similarity The Problem of Scale
31
Meteorological Optics I Shadows Crepuscular Rays and Related Optical Phenomena
57
Meteorological Optics II A Calculus I Approach to Rainbows Halos and Glories
80
Clouds Sand Dunes and Hurricanes
118
Linear Waves of All Kinds
139
Stability
173
The Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio 964
213
Bees Honeycombs Bubbles and Mud Cracks
231
River Meanders Branching Patterns and Trees
254
Bird Flight
295
How Did the Leopard Get Its Spots?
309
Fractals An Appetite Whetter
336
BIBLIOGRAPHY
341
INDEX
356

Bores and Nonlinear Waves
194

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

John A. Adam is professor of mathematics at Old Dominion University. He is the author of "A Mathematical Nature Walk" and "Mathematics in Nature", and coauthor of "Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin" (all Princeton).

Bibliographic information