I watched a documentary last night, “Codebreaker” about Alan Turing, the father of computer science. Turing was fascinated with the mathematics of Mother Nature: especially fibonacci phyllotaxis. Turing is already well-known for his amazing achievements, from cracking the German Enigma Machine during World War II to the Turing Test. During his remaining years on this planet, Turing developed the Reaction-Diffusion Theory of Morphogenesis to explain the mechanism of pattern formation in biological systems, such as animal skin pigmentations. Finally, fast forward fifty years later, biologists have provided the first biological evidence to show that Turing’s model experimentally controls hair follicle spacing in mice.
And us artists have been inspired as well: This is Miu Ling Lam’s “Deciphering Nature’s Codes”. His project is a tribute to Alan Turing for the groundbreaking and counterintuitive idea of using Reaction-Diffusion systems to explain the complex mechanism of patterning in nature. Miu Ling Lam developed a set of computer programs to mimic these systems and has extended Turing’s two-component Reaction-Diffusion model to three-components, using the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue, to represent three types of morphogens that react and diffuse in the system.