Philip Ball Lecture

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
 
Our celebrations of the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form continue on Wednesday 22nd November at 6pm with a free public lecture by renowned science writer and broadcaster Philip Ball in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, entitled From Natural Patterns to Self-Organisation
 
Patterns, regularities and order appear spontaneously in the universe over an immense range of scales in space and time. Not only does such organisation seem to challenge the universal thermodynamic tendency towards an inexorable increase in entropy and disorder, but these patterns often share similar forms and features in systems that seem to have no relation to one another. 
 
It has become increasingly clear that there are organising processes in nature that operate according to very general principles, insensitive to (or at best merely fine-tuned by) the details of a particular system. At the same time, the delicate interplay between chance and determinism in these situations is able to engender immense, seemingly endless variation on a few basic themes, as in the case of snowflakes.
 
On Growth and Form was the first great synthesis of this combination of universality and variety in natural pattern and form. But only in modern times have we had the conceptual, computational and experimental tools to do his intuitions justice. 
 
In this free lecture, Philip Ball will look at where our understanding of these processes has come over the century since the book’s publication. A former editor of Nature, Ball recently presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary about D’Arcy Thompson and is the author of Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts.
 
The lecture is free but please book a place here.
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Exponential Growth

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
 
Exponential Growth features new work by Graphic Design and Illustration students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, one of a series of events celebrating the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark book On Growth and Form. 
 
Over the past few weeks, the students have created an amazing variety of sketches, objects, illustrations, collages and magazine layouts inspired by D’Arcy’s ideas and collections, the best of which will be shown in the exhibition.
 
Open now and running until into the New Year – details below :

University of Dundee Culture Day – today!

The Thirteenth Annual University of Dundee Culture Day :
 
GROWTH
 
Today – Wednesday 8th November 2017, 1.30pm-5pm
Lecture Theatre 1, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee
 
This year the University’s annual Culture Day takes Growth as its theme, reflecting several important anniversaries – the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form; the 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels (in which size really matters); and the University’s own growth as we celebrate our 50th anniversary as an independent institution.
 
Full details here.
 
You can still book your free place via Eventbrite here.

Panel event : Women in Comics

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
 
To accompany our current exhibition Girls in Print: Female Figures in British Comics, we’ve teamed up with the School of Humanities and Dundee Literary Festival to host a special panel discussion event at 5.30pm on Wednesday 18th October in Baxter 1.36, Tower Building. 
 
The exhibition presents original artwork from DC Thomson’s popular girls comics, which reached their peak of popularity in the 1960s and 70s, along with a selection of pieces by current comics creators, offering a broad range of interpretations of what female figures can be in the British comics culture. The exhibition has been curated by Louise Quirion, a recent graduate from the University’s MLitt course in Comics Studies.
 
The discussion event will feature former DC Thomson sub-editors Rhoda Miller and Rosemary Chivers, who will discuss their work on titles such as Mandy, Bunty, Diana and Spellbound, plus current comics artists Elina Bry of Scottish female comics collective Teen Girl Comic and Rebecca Horner, who recently graduated from the Masters course in Comics & Graphic Novels at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. They will be joined by comics experts Dr Joan Ormrod (Manchester School of Art) and Dr Julia Round (Bournemouth University). 
 
The event is free but places should be booked via Dundee Literary Festival here.
 
Please join us from 5pm in the exhibition space in the Tower Foyer Gallery for refreshments before the event starts at 5.30pm.
 
Find out more about the exhibition here.

Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden event #dundeewestend

As part of the season of Wednesday afternoon lectures, Professor Graeme Walker, Director of the Abertay Yeast Research Group at Abertay University, is giving a talk later this week on the subject of yeasts.
 
The lecture will take place in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre in the Tower Building at the Dundee University, at 2.15pm this Wednesday – 18th October – at a charge of £2.
 
Yeasts are the world’s premier industrial microbes. Yeast and fermentation technology is entwined with the history of human civilisation – from ancient Egyptian brewing to modern day biotechnology.
 
This lecture will explore the diversity of yeasts and their products, following a journey from beer to biofuels to biopharmaceuticals and beyond.

D’Arcy Thompson and the Growth of Computational Form

From the Curator of Museum Services, University of Dundee :
 
This Friday (13th October) at 6.30pm sees a special public lecture by the internationally renowned computer scientist and physicist Stephen Wolfram, entitled D’Arcy Thompson and the Growth of Computational Form. 
 
Best known as the creator of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language, Stephen is the author of A New Kind of Science and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research.   Over the course of nearly four decades, he has been a pioneer in the development and application of computational thinking. 
 
His early work on complexity in nature led him to study the behaviour of simple computer programs known as cellular automata.    These studies laid the groundwork for the emerging field that Wolfram called complex systems research.    He went on to discover fundamental connections between computation and nature, and his work led to a wide range of applications, providing scientific foundations for such initiatives as complexity theory and artificial life. 
 
Wolfram himself used his ideas to develop a new randomness generation system and a new approach to computational fluid dynamics, both of which are now in widespread use.    In this special keynote lecture, he will discuss the importance of D’Arcy Thompson to his ideas and the development of computational form.
 
The lecture will take place in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre in the Tower Building at 6.30pm.    Attendance is free but places must be booked here.

On Growth and Form 100 – Centenary Conference

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
 
 
Centenary Conference – ON GROWTH AND FORM 100
13th -15th October 2017
University of Dundee and University of St Andrews
 
2017 marks 100 years since the publication of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark book On Growth and Form – “the greatest work of prose in twentieth century science” (Stephen Jay Gould), written by the man that Richard Dawkins recently nominated as possibly “the most learned polymath of all time”.
 
One of the key works at the intersection of science and the imagination, it is a book that has inspired scientists, artists and thinkers as diverse as Alan Turing, C H Waddington, Claude Lévi Strauss, Norbert Wiener, Henry Moore and Mies van der Rohe. It pioneered the science of biomathematics, and has had a profound influence in art, architecture, anthropology, geography, cybernetics and many other fields.
 
To mark the occasion, a three-day interdisciplinary conference is being organised at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. It will feature a range of presentations covering every aspect of D’Arcy’s own work and the various fields that it has influenced. The conference will also include visits to the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum and the Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History and there will be a special preview of a new exhibition exploring On Growth and Form and its legacy.
 
We are also delighted to welcome two outstanding speakers to give the keynote lectures at the conference.   These will be free and open to the public to attend.
 
Friday 13th October – Lars Spuybroek (NOX / Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta)
 
Lars Spuybroek is an internationally acclaimed Dutch architect whose practice, NOX, has become renowned for organically inspired projects. Having taught in the University of Kassel and Columbia University, he is now Professor of Architectural Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. His lecture will discuss the implications of D’Arcy’s ideas for architecture, drawing on experiments with both analogue as well as digital computing techniques for design.
 
Saturday 14th October – Evelyn Fox Keller (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
(The Fauvel Lecture, supported by the British Society for the History of Mathematics)
 
Evelyn Fox Keller is one of the most internationally respected historians of science. A physicist, author and feminist, she is currently Professor Emerita of the History & Philosophy of Science at MIT. Beginning her career in theoretical physics, she moved on to work in molecular biology before becoming renowned for her work as a feminist critic of science. Her books include Keywords in Evolutionary Biology (1998), The Century of the Gene (2000) and Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines (2002). The latter has a particular focus on mathematical biology and in her lecture she will discuss the legacy of D’Arcy Thompson’s work.
 
The venues will be as follows:
 
Friday 13th October – University of Dundee
Saturday 14th October – University of St Andrews
Sunday 15th October – University of Dundee
 
Booking for the conference is now open. The costs, programme and details for registration can be found here.   We gratefully acknowledge support from the Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau for this event.