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• Philip Ball. Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts Oxford Univ. Press: 2009.
Consists of 3 books explaining complex scientific concepts for the layperson: Flow, Shapes, and Branches. Flow is the best explanation of fluid dynamics for the non-scientist that I've seen.
• David Edwards. Artscience: Creativity in the Post-Google Generation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008.
The author, a Harvard science professor, makes an impassioned case for breaking down the boundaries between artists and scientists. For me the weakness is that most of his success stories, are of scientists learning from art rather than the other way around.
• Theodor Schwenk. Chaos: The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air. Rev. ed. East Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996.
Illustrated with photographs and diagrams, this book explains the movement of fluids and how they shape our environment from small scale (unicellular organisms) to large scale (winding rivers, cloud formations) and was one of the books that reshaped the direction of my artwork by influencing the way I see natural forms.
• John Briggs. Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos. New York: Touchstone, 1992.
What I call an "NPR Science Friday"-style introduction to chaos and complexity theory and what they teach us about patterns in nature. That is, this book is geared toward the non-scientist,, leaving out the advanced math. Lots of illustrations, and includes a section on how these scientific ideas have influenced contemporary artists.
• Mark C. Taylor. The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2003.
A discussion of complexity theory and new models of understanding systems as networks in various stages of stability and instability. The author suggests that these ideas about networks have ramifications beyond science and technology, as a way of understanding the humanities, culture and the arts.
• D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. On Growth and Form. 1942. Rev. ed. New York: Dover, 1992.
A classic (and lengthy!) study on how growth proceeds in organisms according to mathematical formulas, and how different patterns of growth produce different physical forms, for example the spiraling forms of a mollusk shell. If you're like me, and calculus class is a faint memory, Philip Ball's works above are much more accessible, but Ball frequently cites this book.
• Eric Maisel. The Van Gogh Blues. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002.
Artists contend with a lot of rejection and uncertainty in their lives. This book has useful insights and practical ideas for anyone trying to "successfully manage the anxieties of the creative process."