In 1951 Alan Turing wrote a paper entitled The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis in which he developed the reaction‐diffusion theory, which became one of the basic models of theoretical biology and is also considered a foundation of chaos theory.
The story started much earlier, in spring 1923, as documented by his mother in a caricature called Hockey or Watching the Daisies Grow. Crucial motif in the drawing is that, while most players are engaged by the game, Turing is investigating a flower emerging just off the field.
In his Outline of the Development of a Daisy, Turing writes: "At a certain point in the development of the daisy the anatomical changes begin. From this point, as has been mentioned, it becomes hopelessly impracticable to follow the process mathematically ."
Guest-editors Anna Gambin and Anna Marciniak-Czochra: "In this special issue, we present a selection of papers commemorating Alan Turing and arguing that he should be also considered the co-founder of biomathematics and bioinformatics. His late works were inspired by curiosity about the role of mathematics in natural phenomena. Turing's ideas on diffusion-driven instability leading to a formation of stable spatial structures provided mathematical explanations of symmetry break and de novo pattern formation during development, and the shapes of animal coat markings. They also led to the prediction of oscillating chemical reactions, the behavior which were first observed only about 10 years after Turing's death. In this volume, various applications of mathematical theories inspired by Turing's work to natural phenomena are considered."
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