Patterns in nature

Looking at how mathematics informs patterns in the world around us.

Alan Turing – celebrated for helping to crack the Enigma code during the Second World War and for pinning down the limitations of computers – tackled a special instance of this puzzle: animal markings. In 1952 he suggested that a biochemical process produces something known as a “pre-pattern” in the developing embryo, which is later expressed as the real-life pattern of protein pigments, such as the melanin that gives our skin its colour.

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