The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells

  • Hans Meinhardt

Part of the The Virtual Laboratory book series (VIRTUAL LAB.)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Hans Meinhardt
    Pages 41-52
  3. Hans Meinhardt
    Pages 91-102
  4. Hans Meinhardt
    Pages 127-142
  5. Hans Meinhardt
    Pages 143-162
  6. Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, Deborah R. Fowler
    Pages 163-182
  7. Hans Meinhardt
    Pages 183-196
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 227-236

About this book


The patterns on the shells of tropical sea snails are not only compellingly beautiful but also tell a tale of biological development. The decorative patterns are records of their own genesis, which follows laws like those of dune formation or the spread of a flu epidemic. Hans Meinhardt has analyzed the dynamical processes that form these patterns and retraced them faithfully in computer simulations. His book is exciting not only for the astonishing scientific knowledge it reveals but also for its fascinating pictures.
Many of the simulations are supplied on the accompanying CD-ROM in HTML format. Thus, the highly dynamic behavior of the interactions on which shell patterning is based can be inspected like conventional websites with any browser, also on a Macintosh or Linux system. The animations are given as separate files that also can be integrated, e.g., into a PowerPoint presentation if desired. Also included are animated simulations of models that describe more general problems in the development of higher organisms, e.g., formation of organizing regions, pattern formation in hydra, gene activation, formation of net-like structures, and chemotactic orientation.


algorithms artificial life biology computer graphics computer simulation dynamic processes growth processes natural phenomena simulation visualization

Authors and affiliations

  • Hans Meinhardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut for Developmental BiologyTübingenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-662-05293-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-662-05291-4
  • Series Print ISSN 1431-939X
  • About this book