Week One LECTURE
SO... First week and indeed first lecture at university. Was I excited? Yes indeed. Was I scared? Eh... Not really. The lecture, while quite introductory was quite a bit of fun, save for the audio on the videos dropping out. What I found most interesting though, was the three dimensional mapping of cell phone activity during the soccer world cup providing a map of not the visual world, but the intangible world of human interaction.
READINGS The Shapes of Things. In Shapes: Nature's Patterns - Philip Ball Beginning with a hilarious comic questioning what a “leader” of a foreign planet would look like and then, of course, a discussion on the reasons why objects of planet earth look as they do. While the extra-terrestrial “life-forms” as well as how “we tell apart structures formed by chemistry alone and those wrought by biology” where very interesting, I found most inspiration from the patterns section of the reading. The subheading caught me out as I had not actually known definitively what a pattern was, yet neither did Ball, but he did provide a very good attempt: “…a pattern is a form in which particular features occur recognisably and regularly, if not identically or symmetrically.” With this, a relationship is made with the rather phenomenal image of boiling water with metal filings in the water, with the snowflake, also drawing on the six-sided molecular structure, which like me, and to many other scientists, creates the most beautiful chaotic forms from mathematics.
The Man Who Loved Fluids. In Flow: Nature's Patterns - Philip Ball This vignette on the works of Leonardo da Vinci focusing on his works on flow was quite an enjoyable read, and after I put aside my prejudices of the man (da Vinci, not Ball), I was able to extract material from the reading that I will be able to use in my natural process. Back to the book. I loved how Ball illustrates da Vinci’s expansion of flow so well, such as where he makes da Vinci’s link between the braids of a woman’s hair and the braids that occur when flowing water is pushed around a flat plate. Also, da Vinci’s representations of constrictions in a channel remind me of Nikola Tesla’s one-way valve with no moving parts. How this reading affects my natural process can be shown by this da Vinci sketch.
The literal representation of water flowing from a faucet into a pond can be tied directly into the movement of eggs released by coral polyps. I may even try to recreate the flow of particles using wind.
A Winter's Tale. In Branches: Nature's Patterns - Philip Ball Focussing on the snowflake, Ball goes into an in depth discussion on the formation of such a regular shape. Of the three, I enjoyed this Ball reading the most. This probably had something to do with the rather mathematic nature of Ball’s analysis. What I found most interesting, however, is his shattering of my knowledge that snowflakes are indeed perfectly, but in fact they are not, but merely contain a similarity of main structural motives throughout the six “branches” of a particular snowflake. I would, however, like to make my own addition to his analysis. Although he did make a quite clear that the inability to recreate the ends mathematically, I do believe this could have been expanded with an introduction to chaos theory and the increase of irregularity at smaller scales i.e. quantum mechanics. This is what I mean;
These were created by Janko Gravner and David Griffeath as a simulated MODEL, yet they show both the mathematical certainty and perfect symmetry of the general form on the left, and yet the right example, on closer inspection is flawed.