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.
Journal documenting the week one lecture and readings.