DISCOVERING SHAPES AND PATTERNS
As much diversity as there is in the world, it isn't all chaos out there. Shapes and patterns are all around
us in Nature, and we use them to identify and characterize the world around us. We compare apples to
oranges and fish to fowl. We notice that out of simple forms--a cell, a seed, an egg--come many varieties
of life: branching trees, leaping frogs, tiny amoeba and even ourselves. We see spirals in draining
bathtubs, in tornado skies, and in spinning galaxies too.
While we can tell the difference between one thing and another, we can't ignore all the unifying patterns
that cross boundaries of size, species and states of being. "What's behind them?" we wonder.
Can we figure out some of the rules and organizing principles behind these common shapes and patterns
that apply to almost everything?
That's what this section is all about--looking at matter and motion, seeking the "recipe" for the
way things turn out. You'll be amazed to see the plans that Nature uses over and over for all kinds of
wonderful results. Follow this tale, and you'll never look at the world around you in quite the same way.