November 16, 2011

How Leonardo da Vinci Explained Trees

Kim Krieger, Science Now

AP Photo

The graceful taper of a tree trunk into branches, boughs, and twigs is so familiar that few people notice what Leonardo da Vinci observed: A tree almost always grows so that the total thickness of the branches at a particular height is equal to the thickness of the trunk. Until now, no one has been able to explain why trees obey this rule. But a new study may have the answer.

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TAGGED: Fractals, Wind, Trees, Mathematics


October 14, 2013
What's It Like to Be a Mathematician?
Jacob Aron, Slate
The way mathematics is taught is akin to an art class in which students are only taught how to paint a fence and are never shown the paintings of the great masters. When, later on in life, the subject of mathematics comes up,... more ››
October 9, 2013
Big Data Requires a New Mathematics
Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Mag.
Simon DeDeo, a research fellow in applied mathematics and complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute, had a problem. He was collaborating on a new project analyzing 300 years’ worth of data from the archives of... more ››
October 8, 2013
How Indian Mysticism Revolutionized Math
Alex Bellos, Guardian
What has India given to the world? Nothing. The mathematical concept of zero emerged in India about one and a half thousand years ago, and this summer I travelled there to visit a temple where the oldest known zero symbols are... more ››