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The Man Who Found Physics in Shells, Seeds and Bees

100 years ago D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson had a mission to apply physics to biology showing how nature's shapes, of flowers, shells and honeycombs, are dictated by mathematical rules.

100 years ago D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson published On Growth and Form, a book with a mission to put maths into biology. He showed how the shapes, forms and growth processes we see in the living world aren't some arbitrary result of evolution's blind searching, but are dictated by mathematical rules. A flower, a honeycomb, a dragonfly's wing: it's not sheer chance that these look the way they do. But can these processes be explained by physics? D'Arcy Thompson loved nature's shapes and influenced a whole new field of systems biology, architects, designers and artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Producer: Erika Wright.

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28 minutes

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