Mathematics

What da Vinci saw in trees

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
480,
Page:
417
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/480417a
Published online

In his notebooks (pictured), the fifteenth-century Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci observed that the total cross-section of a tree remains the same along its height every time it branches. Physicists have searched for years for an explanation for this phenomenon, but have yet to find one that is widely accepted.

T. LE MAGE/RMN (INST. FRANCE)

Christophe Eloy of Aix-Marseilles University in France shows that the observation follows from two assumptions — first, that trees are fractal, or self-similar in nature, and, second, that their growth is determined by the need to withstand wind stress on their branches. Eloy says that the most relevant property of wind loads is the way it diverges towards the tips of branches. Static loads from fruit, snow or ice would have a similar effect.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 258101 (2011)

Comments

  1. Report this comment #40848

    Marco Struckmann said:

    The nature is the best inventor. And Leonardo was one of the best observers. Thanks for linking the source. Marco from Geiseltal

  2. Report this comment #59852

    Marco Marcus said:

    Leonardo da Vinci was a genius of mankind. He had exceptional achievements and vision in many areas. Mankind owes him many achievements of our time. online casino

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