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On Growth and Form

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  320 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Why do living things and physical phenomena take the forms they do? Analyzing the mathematical and physical aspects of biological processes, this historic work, first published in 1917, has become renowned as well for the poetry of is descriptions.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 31st 1992 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 1942)
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This book is a meticulous work that's both thought provoking and inspiring in its scope. There are plenty of profound, even poetic, insights scattered throughout a density of seemingly sterile precision. An especially interesting holism can be found in the chapter titled 'On the Theory of Transformations, or the Comparison of Related Forms' : "With the 'characters' of Mendelian genetics there is no fault to be found; tall and short, rough and smooth, plain or coloured are opposite tendencies or ...more
A beautiful and bountiful book, I have spent many hours since reading it the first time just looking at the pictures.
Barry Behrstock
This is the classic on the subject
Lorne Rothman
"On Growth and Form" is a brilliant piece of scientific literature written by a true renaissance man. This remarkably varied book describes the wondrous diversity of patterns we see in nature, yet helps us to see the unity in their origins, through detailed explanations of the simple, common rules that govern the development and structure of all living organisms.

Written in 1917, "On Growth and Form" was ahead of its time, and was surely a seminal piece in the development of complexity theory an
Mar 13, 2011 Peter added it
A science classic. The meaning of form. Invention of chaos: A science masterpiece. Written during WWI, revised during WW2. An amazing amount of knowledge, viewed through the eyes of an incredibly perceptive scholar and scientist. Early 20th century writing style. Greek, Latin, French and German citations. From the prefatory note: "an easy introduction to the study of organic Form, by methods which are the common places of physical science, which are by no means novel in their application to natu ...more
Bill Daniels
One of my double armful of totally mind blowing books on my shelves!

Read years ago in grad school. I love this one.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in explaining natural phenomena. The author takes us on a journey at the interface between biology and physics, and also of his mind! Of course, the entire book is speculative. However, I think that the book is a perfect example of how to generate curiosity about a particular topic. It has greatly impacted my thinking.
A classic. Ties to natural history... In fact I was turned onto this by Stephen Jay Gould who penned monthly essays in Natural History (the Journal)for most of his adult life. The test goes back a ways and is not accessible to the average modern reader. Its scope is broad, but it can get rather dry for the uninitiated.
Nick Black
Nov 30, 2008 Nick Black marked it as to-read
Still haven't found a bad book from the Canto line of Cambridge Publishing, and this one looks to continue the strong trend. I saw this at Borders the other day, and DJ's addition reminded me I ought pick this up and take a look...
Pretty book. Pretty pretty book. Sometimes the math lost me, but his descriptions of bees building their hives, and the like are astounding portraits of nature.
I read the modern reprint by Dover. I highly recommend this classic book, but I also recommend anyone avoid the Canto abridged edition pictured here.
this was a great read. insightful. poetic. timeless.
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Cover art 1 2 Nov 05, 2008 05:18PM  
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On Growth and Form: The Complete Revised Edition (Dover Books on Biology) Sobre el crecimiento y la forma Day Dreams of a Schoolmaster Forme et croissance A Bibliography of Protozoa, Sponges, C lenterata, and Worms: Including Also the Polyzoa ...

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“…numerical precision is the very soul of science, and its attainment affords the best, perhaps the only criterion of the truth of theories and the correctness of experiments.” 1 likes
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