Phylotaxis is an exploration of the space where science meets culture.
Its structure, derived from the Fibonacci Sequence and closely related to the Golden Ratio, is one of nature's most elegant. The Fibonacci Sequence is the set of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. This simple sequence governs phenomena as diverse as the petal arrangement of roses, the breeding patterns of rabbits, and the shape of our galaxy. It is also evident in the design of the Great Pyramids, the composition of the Mona Lisa, and the construction of Stradivarius violins.
Related to the Fibonacci Sequence, Phylotaxis (Phyllos - leaf, Taxis - order) is the study of the ordered position of leaves on a plant stem, and also applies to the shape of pinecones, and the dispersion of seeds on the flat head of a sunflower. Seed has chosen this shape to represent the perfect synthesis of science and culture.
"Phylotaxis", created for Seed by artist Jonathan Harris, illustrates the delicate balance between science and culture in our world.
Without the randomness of culture, science becomes dry and predictable, imprisoned in a strict square grid. Without the rational thinking of science, culture quickly teeters towards chaos. Only when science and culture act as peers can harmony be achieved, expressed through the astonishing Phylotaxis shape.
The individual beads of the Phylotaxis represent an ever-changing zeitgeist of science news in our world, populated automatically every few hours by a computer program that scours a slew of online news sources and blogs that focus on science. The Phylotaxis is therefore beyond human control, autonomously composing its own new identity, based on what's happening in the world of science.
The miniature Phylotaxis atop this page is the Seed insignia, quivering slightly with Brownian motion, its color composition changing every few hours, each dot taking on the average color of its corresponding Phylotaxis photograph. In this way, the identity of Seed constantly reflects the identity of science.
Jonathan Harris is an artist working primarily on the Internet. His work involves the study and understanding of humans through the artifacts we leave behind on the Web. Harris has explored these ideas in such projects as 10x10, WordCount, Understanding Vorn, and justcurio.us.
Originally from northern Vermont, Harris now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
His work can be seen at number27.org
About Seed Media Group
Seed Media Group is a science media and communications company, with a portfolio spanning magazines, online, and social media. What ties our products and services together is our passion for science and our advocacy of science literacy around the world. Seed Media Group is headquartered in New York City, and our team collaborates from bureaus in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, London, Munich, and Shanghai. Our mission is to nurture a science-savvy global citizenry by strengthening public interest in science and improving public understanding of science.
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