Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

BPoD is 5

In 2017 we celebrate five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

12 August 2016

Coded Complexity

This mesmerising simulation shows how simple rules can govern natural forms. The growing mass is made up of cells, like those in our bodies. It shudders and squirms as these cells divide, and appears to produces beautiful and intricate patterns. Different people see different things in the video as they project their own personal experiences or backgrounds onto it. Some see the calcified skeleton of corals, while others see the initial growth of plants or the intricate folds of organs. Digital artist Andy Lomas creates these animations by writing computer code to simulate the way in which cells grow under a variety of conditions. Here, light shines onto the cells from all directions and drives their growth. The different simulations make up a series of animations that echo each other but arrive at distinctive, ornate surface patterns. These videos were displayed at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition last month.

See more of Andy Lomas's animations here

Written by Honor Pollard

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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