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Rothschild Lecture: On Growth and Form and Mathematics: Reading d'Arcy Thompson 100 Years On

Presented by: 
Alain Goriely University of Oxford
Tuesday 10th October 2017 - 17:00 to 18:00
INI Seminar Room 1

In 1917, the Scottish scientist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson published “On Growth and Form”. In this book, d’Arcy Thompson, through many beautifully illustrated examples, studies the variety of forms appearing in nature from a mechanistic and mathematical perspective. Hailed as “the finest work of literature in all the annals of science that have been recorded in the English tongue” and criticised as “a work widely praised, but seldom used”, it still stands, a hundred years later, as a masterpiece despite some obvious shortcomings. What is the real influence and impact of this book? How did it shape questions and methodologies in modern science? In this talk, I will delve into “On Growth and Form,” extract its main themes, and show how d’Arcy Thompson’s ideas are still relevant today to unravel the physical basis of morphogenesis.


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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons