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Things of interest in Maths & Science

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In 1952 Alan Turing, a british mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist, wrote a paper which remains influential in computational biology today. He explained how stripes might form on a snake’s skin [and other patterns on animals], using the dispersion of two chemicals; an activator [red] and an inhibitor [yellow]. The activator causes the colouration, and the inhibitor inhibits it. Turing wrote a pair of equations which say that concentrations of the activator cause creation of more inhibitor, but that the inhibitor diffuses and spreads out more quickly than the activator. As shown in the animation, this causes the activator to form peaks with surrounding basins of inhibitor. The concentrations of the two chemicals quickly converge to a stripey pattern where the red activator is periodically in higher concentration than the yellow inhibitor. [video] [more] [code]

In 1952 Alan Turing, a british mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist, wrote a paper which remains influential in computational biology today. He explained how stripes might form on a snake’s skin [and other patterns on animals], using the dispersion of two chemicals; an activator [red] and an inhibitor [yellow]. The activator causes the colouration, and the inhibitor inhibits it. Turing wrote a pair of equations which say that concentrations of the activator cause creation of more inhibitor, but that the inhibitor diffuses and spreads out more quickly than the activator. As shown in the animation, this causes the activator to form peaks with surrounding basins of inhibitor. The concentrations of the two chemicals quickly converge to a stripey pattern where the red activator is periodically in higher concentration than the yellow inhibitor. [video] [more] [code]

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Matt Henderson

I post original stuff about maths, space, computational linguistics and other things that I like. This blog is meant to be accessible and interesting to people of all backgrounds. My undergrad was maths in Cambridge, and I'm now starting research in Speech and Language technology. Email me at If you're new, check out this overview of my posts. All code posted is in Mathematica.

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