All Shops

British Wildlife

6 issues per year 84 pages per issue Subscription only

British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published six times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

Subscriptions from £30 per year

Conservation Land Management

4 issues per year 44 pages per issue Subscription only

Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

Subscriptions from £18 per year
Academic & Professional Books  Natural History  General Natural History

Shapes: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts

Popular Science
By: Philip Ball(Author)
320 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Shapes: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts
Click to have a closer look
  • Shapes: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts ISBN: 9780199604869 Paperback May 2011 Out of Print #188783
About this book Contents Biography Related titles

About this book

Patterns are everywhere in nature – in the ranks of clouds in the sky, the stripes of an angelfish, the arrangement of petals in flowers. Where does this order and regularity come from? It creates itself. The patterns we see come from self-organization. Whether living or non-living, scientists have found that there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature, so that from a few simple themes, and the repetition of simple rules, endless beautiful variations can arise.

Part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball here looks at how shapes form. From soap bubbles to honeycombs, delicate shell patterns, and even the developing body parts of a complex animal like ourselves, he uncovers patterns in growth and form in all corners of the natural world, explains how these patterns are self-made, and why similar shapes and structures may be found in very different settings, orchestrated by nothing more than simple physical forces. Shapes will make you look at the world with fresh eyes, seeing order and form even in the places you'd least expect.


1: The Shapes of Things: Pattern and Form
2: Lessons of the Beehive: Building with Bubbles
3: Making Waves: Stripes in a Test Tube
4: Written on the Body: Hiding, Warning and Mimicking
5: Rhythms of the Wild: Crystal Communities
6: How Does Your Garden Grow?: The Mathematics of a Daisy
7: Unfolding the Embryo: The Formation of Body Plans

Customer Reviews


Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for Nature, where he previously worked as an editor for physical sciences. He is a regular commentator in the scientific and popular media on science and its interactions with art, history and culture. His ten books on scientific subjects include The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, H2O: A Biography of Water, The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. He was awarded the 2006 James T. Grady–James H. Stack award by the American Chemical Society for interpreting chemistry for the public. Philip studied chemistry at Oxford and holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Bristol. His latest book The Music Instinct published in February 2010.

Popular Science
By: Philip Ball(Author)
320 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Wideranging, intelligent and non-dogmatic trilogy of books."
– Martin Kemp, Times Literary Supplement

"Philip Ball gives us some very interesting food for thought."
– Mark Ronan, Standpoint

"Ball has opened a welcome window on a little-understood but thought-provoking aspect of the making of the natural world."
– Alan Cane, Financial Times

"Fascinating detail."
The Economist

Current promotions
Handbook of the mammals of the world batsHelmBacklist BargainsNest Box Price List 2020