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Scaling Mt. Everest. Communicating about Data. I worry that my ruminations on how ecological information flows through the “human ecosystem” of scientists, regulators and policy makers contradicts some of my earlier statements about the importance of field-based biology (see, for example, “Slow science and streamcraft”).

Communicating about Data

It lies at the heart of another problem: that the need to create reproducible, comparable data across an entire country leads to biologists being reduced to “data monkeys”, optimised to operate as part of a production line that grinds inexorably from sample collection to delivery of results (see the flow chart in the preceding post). Bamboo Mathematicians. In the late 1960s, a species of bamboo called Phyllostachys bambusoides–commonly known as the Chinese Mainland Bamboo or Japanese Timber Bamboo–burst into flower.

Bamboo Mathematicians

The species originated in China, was introduced to Japan, and later into the United States and other countries. And when I say it flowered, I mean it flowered everywhere. Forests of the plant burst into bloom in synchrony, despite being separated by thousands of miles. If, like me, you missed it, you will probably not live to see it happen again. The flowers released pollen into the wind, and the fertilized plants then produced seeds that fell to the ground. Makoto Murayama flower. Makoto Murayama Video. Picasso and Einstein Got the Picture - Issue 13: Symmetry. Most of the big steps forward in science are made possible by visualization.

Picasso and Einstein Got the Picture - Issue 13: Symmetry

Albert Einstein said he visualized the theory of relativity before he worked out the formula. Previous explanations of the universe made no aesthetic sense to him. He was mathematically and physically oriented. But he was driven by aesthetics. Humans have an underlying desire to have things be aesthetically pleasing. In that way scientists are like artists. To consider how art and science interact, we should be aware of what happens in the brain when we perceive an image. Extensive processing of visual information encompasses an estimated 260 million photoreceptors and 2 million ganglion cells, the output neurons from the retina. Why are images so important to us? We have a built-in sense for proportion, for symmetry, for what feels right. Research shows approximately 80 percent of our perception is influenced by visual sense. Images in our minds help us learn by heart. Which brings us back to Einstein. Beauty is truth? There’s a false equation – Philip Ball.

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is a century old next year and, as far as the test of time is concerned, it seems to have done rather well.

Beauty is truth? There’s a false equation – Philip Ball

For many, indeed, it doesn’t merely hold up: it is the archetype for what a scientific theory should look like. Einstein’s achievement was to explain gravity as a geometric phenomenon: a force that results from the distortion of space-time by matter and energy, compelling objects – and light itself – to move along particular paths, very much as rivers are constrained by the topography of their landscape. General relativity departs from classical Newtonian mechanics and from ordinary intuition alike, but its predictions have been verified countless times. In short, it is the business. Einstein himself seemed rather indifferent to the experimental tests, however. Popular now. Get Lost in the Internet's Mind-Bending, Math-Inspired Art. Artists have long used mathematics as part of their palette: the geometric patterns in Islamic architectural motifs, M.C.

Get Lost in the Internet's Mind-Bending, Math-Inspired Art

Escher’s tesselations. Maybe it’s the order that appeals—we use math to organize the world, with our engineered skyscrapers and Excel spreadsheets, and art reacts to that organization. Or maybe it’s simply because math describes nature, and nature is beautiful. Today’s artists, using both new technologies such as 3-D printing and traditional media such as textiles, are no different than their forebears. Here are five math-inspired artists and organizations that inspire us. Follow Robert Bosch on TwitterRobert Bosch can draw the Mona Lisa with a single line.

Follow Henry Segerman on Twitter. The golden ratio has spawned a beautiful new curve: the Harriss spiral. Mathematicians like to come up with new stuff.

The golden ratio has spawned a beautiful new curve: the Harriss spiral

A theorem, perhaps, a lemma or even just a corollary. Edmund Harriss discovered a curve. Harriss teaches maths at the University of Arkansas. He’s also an artist and his intellectual quest began with a shape that famously belongs to both science and art: the golden rectangle: A golden rectangle is a rectangle whose sides are proportioned according to the golden ratio, which is 1.618. What is particularly interesting, however, about a golden rectangle is that if you draw a square inside it, as above, the remaining section (in blue) is a smaller golden rectangle.

Heliotropium angiospermum. Tamara Bonnemaison is the author of today's entry.

Heliotropium angiospermum

She writes: Thank you Kenneth Setzer@Flickr for this fabulous photo of Heliotropium angiospermum. If you are looking for a way to put off whatever you are supposed to be doing for a few more minutes, do visit Kenneth's Flickr sets for intriguing images of insects in addition to his many botanical photos. Thanks Kenneth!

I chose to feature this photograph because of the beautiful spiral formed by the unfurling inflorescence. A 2007 article in the online magazine Science News discusses "The Mathematical Lives of Plants".