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Home > Catalog > Kinetic Theory of Living Pattern
Kinetic Theory of Living Pattern


  • 95 b/w illus. 4 tables
  • Page extent: 380 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.603 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 570.1
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: QH331 .H368 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Biology--Philosophy
    • Kinetic theory of matter
    • Biology--Mathematical models

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521019910 | ISBN-10: 0521019915)

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$84.00 (C)

This book contains both an extensive philosophical commentary on this dichotomy in views and an exposition of the type of theory most favored by physical scientists. In this theory, living form is a manifestation of the dynamics of chemical change and physical transport or other physics of spatial communication. The Reaction-diffusion theory as initiated by Turing in 1952 and elaborated by Prigogine, Gierer, Meinhardt, and others is discussed in detail. In some respects the book takes up the theme that "the things we see in the cell are less important than the actions we recognize in the cell", which was a major theme of D'Arcy W. Thompson's classic 1917 work On Growth and Form.


Preface; Part I. Macroscopics without Mathematics: 1. Introduction; 2. Morphogen: one word for at least two concepts; 3. Pictorial reasoning in kinetic theory of pattern and form; 4. Structure, equilibrium, kinetics; Part II. Pattern-Forming Processes: 5. The making and breaking of symmetry; 6. Matters needing mathematics: an introduction; 7. Kinetic models for stable pattern: an introduction; Part III. Bringing Experiment and Theory Together: 8. Classifications; 9. Non-linear reaction-diffusion models; 10. Approaching agreement?; References; Index.


"A recurrent theme throughout the book is the need for communication across disciplines and Harrison draws analogy, wherever possible, with problems in physical chemistry, the area in which he started his scientific career....aimed at experimental biologists who wish to understand the basics of reaction-diffusion theory and for mathematicians who wish to communicate with biologists....the diverse range of phenomena discussed in basic terms make this book worthwhile reading." Philip K. Maini, Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

"...a discursive yet engaging manner. Those who would like a qualitative introduction to the subject should read the first third of the book; the second third is a good introduction to quantitative reasoning; the last third shows how accurately morphogenesis has been modeled." Edward Cox, Science

"...a very distinctive feel to it. It is the work of a teacher and scholar who does not mind revealing his (and others') prejudices, successes, and failures. Harrison writes in a discursive yet engaging manner." Edward Cox, Science

"...[a] brave book." R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the American Chemical Society

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