Can One Mathematical Model Explain All Patterns In Nature?

Alan Turing is one of humanity’s bonafide heroes. During World War II, he cracked the German Enigma code, a breakthrough which many historians believe won the war for the Allies. He also devised a test for determining artificial intelligence — about 50 years before artificial intelligence even existed. One of Turing’s most fascinating achievements concerns his lifelong obsession with the relationship between mathematics and organic life. Turing wanted to create a theory that would explain why certain patterns recur over and over in the natural world — the spiral pattern of petals on a flower, say, or the stripes on a zebra. Specifically, he was interested in embryology and how a small, uniform batch of cells could morph into an infinity of complex forms. Turing was convinced that some mathematical…


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