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Flow: Nature's patterns: a tapestry in three parts [Hardcover]

Philip Ball
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Jun 2009 Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts
From the swirl of a wisp of smoke to eddies in rivers, and the huge persistent storm system that is the Great Spot on Jupiter, we see similar forms and patterns wherever there is flow - whether the movement of wind, water, sand, or flocks of birds. It is the complex dynamics of flow that structures our atmosphere, land, and oceans.

Part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature by acclaimed science writer Philip Ball, this volume explores the elusive rules that govern flow - the science of chaotic behaviour.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (11 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199237972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199237975
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 676,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He worked at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences (for which his brief extended from biochemistry to quantum physics and materials science) and then as a Consultant Editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.

Product Description


Wideranging, intelligent and non-dogmatic trilogy of books. (Martin Kemp, TLS)

About the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He is a regular commentator in the scientific and popular media on science and its interactions with art, history and culture. His ten books on scientific subjects include The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, H2O: A Biography of Water, The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. He was awarded the 2006 James T. Grady - James H. Stack award by the American Chemical Society for interpreting chemistry for the public. Philip studied chemistry at Oxford and holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Bristol. His latest book The Music Instinct published in February 2010.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and accessible 16 Dec 2009
People who like equations and complex charts will be disappointed, it doesn't feel like hard sciences. You will need to dive in the references of this book to crunch maths.

The subject is extremely interesting and you don't need to be a physician, a mathematician or an engineer to understand what it is about. It is dense, precise, sometimes a bit funny with few but good references in fine art. I highly recommend this book as a first reading for people who want to arouse their interest in fluid mechanics and morphogenesis (generation of shapes). The format is friendly (small and thin, nice hard-cover) and chapters well ordered, really pleasant and informative.

There are 3 books in this serie, "branches" starts well, I'm just at the beginning of it, but I have a good feeling... !
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3.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Presentation of Phenomena of Interest 30 Nov 2012
I read the book as one who was trained in the discipline of fluid mechanics, but left the field thirty years ago. Its main aim which is usually met seems to be the presentation of phenomena of interest along with simplified explanations, in an accessible way. One danger is that explanations are not only simple but wrong, and I think there are a few such instances, for example in the discussion of vortex shedding. I am doubtful if the author has done much justice to complex ideas and topics, such as links between phenomena, and the whole domain of turbulence studies; the reason for even mentioning the Navier-Stokes equations in a book of this type is beyond me. I found the mix of text and figures generally satisfying but the heavy annotation of many of the latter was irritating; a bit like books where footnotes occupy vast areas.
The book is certainly not a primer for further study, but one could do worse than use it for a 'once in a lifetime' dip into the field.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 17 Jun 2014
By D. Halgrimson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting but not what I expected. Problem was my expectations not the product. I will read anyway as it may open new insights for me
1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars On the wrong track 18 Jun 2013
By HILLEL A. SCHILLER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
NATURE DOES NOT CREATE MERE PATTERNS OF "FLOW." it creates actual 3D processes and forms as described by Lancelot Law Whyte's theory of Unitary Process thinking which describes a universal "formative process" as fundamental to Nature in which asymmetry decreases leading to symmetrical 3D forms evident throughout inorganic and organic Nature. hillel.schiller@Gmail.com.
7 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flow is great book, 15 Mar 2010
By Todd R. Scheithauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is book of 3 series, if you understand this book, i don't believe theirs really any reason to order the next two in the series.

Its basically saying how there is pattern to chaos, all around us patterns create the flow of life
5 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gift 20 Aug 2009
By Frances F. Sabin - Published on Amazon.com
Book given to Grandson, a high school junior here in Portland. He has reported a favorable review, saying it contains information with considerable interest for him.
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