There are many kinds of pattern in mathematics and many ways to think about them. But when it comes to visual patterns, one viewpoint stands out; symmetry.
This talk explores some basic ideas about symmetry, and shows how it helps us to understand patterns in nature - such as the markings on animals and fish, how animals move, the shapes of sand dunes, and the six-sided snowflake.
This the second in a series of three lectures on Patterns. The other lectures are as follows:
How the zebra got it its stripes by Professor Adrea Sella
God's Good Order and the Artist's Patterns by Professor Ben Quash
Ian Stewart read Mathematics at Churchill College, Cambridge before completing his doctorate at the University of Warwick where he is now a Professor of Maths. He was the first recipient of the Christopher Zeeman medal and has held visiting professorships in the United States, Germany and New Zealand. He has given the Royal Institution Christmas lectures and is a fellow of the Royal Society. He was the Gresham Professor of Geometry between 1994 and 1998.