"Superformula" – A FOE (Formula of Everything)?

The Holy Grail of Physics is a so-called Theory of Everything or TOE. Now Dutch biologist Johan Gielis at University of Nijnegen, Holland may have stubbed his toe and stumbled across the Formula of Everything. “When I found the formula, all these beautiful shapes came rolling out of my computer,” he says. “It seemed too good to be true – I spent two years thinking ‘What did I do wrong?’ and ‘How come no one else has discovered it?'” Now, having spoken to mathematicians, he reckons that he’s found something new, which he’s published as the Superformula in the American Journal of Botany. A variation of the formula for a circle, the Superformula produces everything from simple triangles and pentagons, to stars, spirals and petals. “Describing form is one of the more intractable problems in biology,” says botanist Karl Niklas, who believes the Superformula might provide a single, simple framework for analysing and comparing the shapes of life. “This is an exciting development.” No word yet how it ties in with Stephen Wolfram’s work

7 thoughts on “"Superformula" – A FOE (Formula of Everything)?”

  1. Maybe I missed something, but what actually *is* the formula?  I think it’d be fun to play with.

  2. He’s patented it, but it’s apparently so new there’s nothing listed on the patent application at either the US or European Union Patent Offices. I don’t know if it’s detailed in the botany journal article or not – the link is just for the abstract. If somebody springs for the cash to read the full article, let us know if it gives the actual formula!

  3. The output reminds me of the spirograph toy (search google if you don’t know what it is).  Fun.  :-)

  4. The link is working for me right now, here’s a clickable version of it: http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/curves/supershape/. If that fails, there’s always the Google Cache!

    The formula (and all the neat spirograph pictures, of course) are GIFs, so no can paste in here. Oh how I wish the creators of HTML had thought to build in mathematical formula display tags. It is way too much to type in with ordinary HTML, being nth root of sum of nth powers of absolute values of trig functions.

  5. The inventor of the so called superformula is actually from Antwerp, Belgium and not from the Netherlands.

    “How about a nice big cup of shut the fuck up?
    Think before you say something stupid.”

    Keep at it!
    Greetz
    sceon@pandora.be

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