Correspondence about the Forms of Cells


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In the ‘Forms of Cells’ chapter of On Growth and Form D'Arcy Thompson explains the effects of different forces (mostly surface tension) on the forms of cells.

He considers the similarity between the forms of small single cell organisms and Plateau's Surfaces of Revolution. Spheres, cylinders and unduloids are the most common surfaces of revolution that are seen in natural forms. Plateau's experiment (and C. R. Darling's improvement on it) on soap-films plays a vital part in this chapter. The experiment shows how a soap-bubble, spherical at the beginning, changes its shape depending on the conditions that it is in.

Furthermore, Thompson uses Worthington's observations from an experiment on splashes to compare the forms of the different phases of a splash to, for instance, a hydroid polyp (see Figure 1). Similarly, he considers the liquid jets (created by a drop moving through surrounding fluid, influenced by fluid friction) and compares them to various medusoids (see Figures 2 and 3).

<i>Splashes and hydroid polyp</i>
Figude 1: Splashes and hydroid polyp
Original diagrams from On Growth and Form
<i>Falling drops</i>
Figude 2: Falling drops
Original diagrams from On Growth and Form
<i>Various medusoids</i>
Figude 3: Various medusoids
Original diagrams from On Growth and Form

Correspondents and related material

About Joseph Plateau and his experiment

Charles Robert Darling

D'Arcy's test script for Tait's class

Introduction

   

Overview & D'Arcy's Life

   

On Growth and Form

   

Heilmann & Shufeldt

   

Maths of Transformations

   

Correspondence

   

D'Arcy and Mathematics

   

Coordinate Transformations

   

Logarithmic Spirals

   

Forms of Cells

   

Forms and Mechanical efficiency

   

Shrinkage

   

Wartime and D'Arcy

   

The Leg as a Pendulum

   

Recreational Maths

   

Fibonacci Sequence

   

Cell-Aggregates

   

All Correspondence Links

Claxton Fidler

   

Eric Harold Neville

   

John Marshall

   

Alfred North Whitehead

   

Charles Robert Darling

   

Peter Guthrie Tait

   

William Peddie

   

Geoffrey Thomas Bennett

   

Dorothy Wrinch

   


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School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland

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