10 episodes

Everywhere you look in nature you will find patterns. From the seeds in the flower under your nose to the flock of swallows overhead some patterns keep occurring again and again.

The essence of mathematics is a series of simple rules that produce complex consequences. And nowhere are these complex consequences more apparent than in the natural world.

This collection will look at 5 mathematical theories that were inspired by nature. It will look at the origin of the theory, its impact on research at the time and its continuing relevance.

Patterns of Life - for iPod/iPhone The Open University

    • Courses

Everywhere you look in nature you will find patterns. From the seeds in the flower under your nose to the flock of swallows overhead some patterns keep occurring again and again.

The essence of mathematics is a series of simple rules that produce complex consequences. And nowhere are these complex consequences more apparent than in the natural world.

This collection will look at 5 mathematical theories that were inspired by nature. It will look at the origin of the theory, its impact on research at the time and its continuing relevance.

    • video
    Edward Lorenz and Chaos Theory

    Edward Lorenz and Chaos Theory

    Why can’t we get a good weather forecast? Meteorologist Edward Lorenz tried to predict the weather but in the end all he discovered were chaotic systems, leading him to declare long term weather forecasting is utterly impossible.

    • 1 min
    Transcript -- Edward Lorenz and Chaos Theory

    Transcript -- Edward Lorenz and Chaos Theory

    Why can’t we get a good weather forecast? Meteorologist Edward Lorenz tried to predict the weather but in the end all he discovered were chaotic systems, leading him to declare long term weather forecasting is utterly impossible.

    • video
    Alan Turing and Morphogenesis

    Alan Turing and Morphogenesis

    What makes tigers striped and cheetahs spotty? World War II code-breaker and father of computing, Alan Turing, has a simple explanation…

    • 1 min
    Transcript -- Alan Turing and Morphogenesis

    Transcript -- Alan Turing and Morphogenesis

    What makes tigers striped and cheetahs spotty? World War II code-breaker and father of computing, Alan Turing, has a simple explanation…

    • video
    Warren Weaver and Complexity Theory

    Warren Weaver and Complexity Theory

    In 1948, Warren Weaver identified what he called complex systems. These are systems where individual parts act independently of each other, while still following a set of simple rules.

    • 1 min
    Transcript -- Warren Weaver and Complexity Theory

    Transcript -- Warren Weaver and Complexity Theory

    In 1948, Warren Weaver identified what he called complex systems. These are systems where individual parts act independently of each other, while still following a set of simple rules.

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