D'Arcy Thompson on flight

Kate Hindle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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D'Arcy Thompson (1860–1948) is most remembered for his influential book On Growth and Form (1917), which looked to maths to explain why biological creatures take the shapes that they take. In January 1917, a few months before this book was released, Thompson had a letter to the editor published in Nature titled ‘Stability in Flight’. Using this paper, and the response to it, as a basis, this article will investigate Thompson's relationship with mathematics, uncovering his ideas on an ideological hierarchy of subjects, where mathematics informs biology, but the reverse case is not true. It will also explore the ideas of flight Thompson discusses in the article, from the aeronautical physics paper which inspired Thompson, to the ideas on modern ornithology which agree with his work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Mathematics
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date23 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2024


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