The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and American Scientist subscribers.
If you are an active member or an individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article.
If you are not a member or individual subscriber, you can:
Biology is full of stunningly complex patterns that arise from the breaking of spatial symmetries. Sharon, Marder and Swinney have succeeded in understanding one type of pattern: the ripples that form at the edges of leaves and cylindrical flower parts, such as the trumpets of daffodils. These ripples can have fractal dimensions and look just like the ripples that form at the edges of a torn sheet of plastic. There's a reason for the similarity: The waves emerge from the geometrical properties of thin membranes, including biological ones. These membranes must buckle and break free of their Euclidean geometry. The authors explain how rippled edges form as a response to the stresses on a membrane as a plant grows, and how the expression of a growth hormone may control this phenomenon in plant leaves.
Connect With Us:
An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.
JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.
The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.
View the full collection here.
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.