On Growth and Form (D'Arcy Thompson)



The IAS will host one day of a larger workshop programme "On Growth and Form”, in combination with a special exhibition inspired by D'Arcy Thompson's famous book.

100 year ''On Growth and Form''

In 2017, it will be a hundred years since the first edition of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s book “On Growth and Form” was published. This seminal publication marks the beginning of modern mathematical biology.The book had an important impact on key figures and pioneers in different disciplines ranging from developmental biology, mathematics, physics to architecture, art, and literature. Yet, its influence on mainstream schools of thought in these fields remains controversial and intangible in many ways.


The IAS will host one day of an intensive multi-day workshop programme "On Growth and Form". The event will be organised in combination with a special exhibition of art and natural objects from the university collection. Colloboration partners include the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Vienna and the Lorentz Center in Leiden. 
More details will follow.

Scientific lead: Jaap Kaandorp

Kaandorp IAS


100 year after its first publication, “On Growth and Form” still attracts plenty of attention. There are many reasons for this, but probably the most important one lies in the fact that the central theme of the book - the growth and emergence of organismal form - is still one of the most fundamental, unresolved questions in biology. 

The overall goal of the workshop is to bring together a multi-disciplinary community inspired by D’Arcy Thompson’s work, with participants from the fields of developmental and mathematical biology, science history and philosophy, mathematics, art, and architecture. The workshop will be considered a success if it manages to foster the exchange of ideas, concepts, and approaches between the different participants to provide new angles and inspiration which will drive research in novel directions. The ambition is to create new synergies and collaborations that enable new interdisciplinary research into the fundamental problem of biological growth and form.

Published by  UvA Institute for Advanced Study