On Growth and Form 100

‌An exciting programme of exhibitions, events and publications marking the centenary of D'Arcy Thompson's ground-breaking book On Growth and Form 

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Friday 6 October, 7.30pm

Lecture Theatre 2, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee

The Armitstead Lecture – Matthew Jarron: On Growth and Form – 100 Years On and Still Growing

As part of the prestigious lecture series, museum curator Matthew Jarron will discuss the history and influence of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form.

Admission £2 (pay on the door)


Friday 13 – Sunday 15 October

University of Dundee and University of St Andrews

On Growth and Form 100 – Centenary Conference

An international celebration of the most influential book ever written in Dundee. Full programme and booking details at https://www.ongrowthandform.org/conference/


Friday 13 October, 6.30pm

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Free Public Lecture – Stephen Wolfram: D’Arcy Thompson and the Growth of Computational Form

As part of the On Growth and Form 100 conference, this special keynote lecture will be given by internationally renowned computer scientist Stephen Wolfram, who will speak about the influence of D’Arcy Thompson on his work and the development of computational form.

Free but places must be booked here


Wednesday 18 October, 3pm

Bonar Hall, University of Dundee

Dundee Literary Festival – A Celebration of On Growth and Form

Growth and Form will be the main theme for this year’s festival. In this event, Curator Matthew Jarron will discuss the book and its influence, and there will be chance to buy new publications celebrating the centenary.

Free but places should be booked via the Literary Festival


Wednesday 8 November, 6pm

Carnelley Building, University of Dundee

“A huge space of endless predetermined possibilities”: Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

A public lecture by Catherine Mason

This talk considers how the writing of code has been used to draw since digital computing technology became accessible to artists from the mid-1960s.  D’Arcy Thompson’s ideas from On Growth and Form had a formative influence on the pioneers of algorithmic art, whose work will be explored in this illustrated talk by art historian Catherine Mason. Part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival supported by Creative Scotland.

Free but places should be booked here


Wednesday 22 November, 6pm

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

From Natural Patterns to Self-Organisation: 100 years of Growth and Form

A public lecture by Philip Ball

Patterns, regularities and order appear spontaneously in the universe over an immense range of scales in space and time. It has become increasingly clear that there are organising processes in nature, as D’Arcy Thompson first revealed in On Growth and Form. Only recently have we had the conceptual, computational and experimental tools to do his intuitions justice. In this stimulating talk, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball will look at where our understanding of these processes has come over the century since the book’s publication.

Free but places should be booked here


Tuesday 5 December, 6pm

D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee

D’Arcy through the Letter Box - the Polymath’s wonderland as seen through his correspondence

A free talk by Meic Pierce Owen

D’Arcy Thompson’s papers at the University of St Andrews incorporate some 30,000 letters written throughout his lifetime. In this entertaining talk, archivist Meic Pierce Owen explores highlights of a vast and fascinating collection.

Free but places should be booked here


Saturday 9 December, 10am-12.30pm & 2-4.30pm

D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee

Creative Coding : Animats, Animation and Artificial Life
Designing and Coding Workshops by Genetic Moo

Create your own virtual organisms in these special workshops by computer art duo Genetic Moo. Using design and creative coding, in the first part of the workshop you will learn how to design your creatures digitally, experimenting with different body parts, muscles and sensors. In the second part, find out how to program simple animating backgrounds which will trigger your creatures into action. At the end of this stimulating workshop we will bring some of the ‘created’ creatures together into a virtual world, while observing how they behave. Coding will be done using the free and open source Processing Language. After the workshop, we will email participants with the resulting programs and will explain how you can carry on your exciting coding experiments at home.

The workshop will run twice – a family-friendly version in the morning (10am-12.30pm) and one for adults in the afternoon (2-4.30pm).

Please note –

Workshops will be 2.5 hours long with a short break in the middle.  All equipment will be provided.

The workshops will be run by Nicola Schauerman and Tim Pickup who make up the digital art group Genetic Moo and have ten years of experience creating interactive creatures for events and exhibitions up and down the country. They filled a shop full of digital beasties at Dundee's Wellgate Centre for NEoN Digital Arts Festival 2016.

The morning workshop is intended for children aged 10 and upwards. Children must be accompanied by one or two adults. You only need to book one place per child as you will be sharing a netbook computer. It is great fun to work together with your kids and see who can code, or you can sit back and let the kids get on with it.

The afternoon workshop is intended for adults aged 18 and upwards.

There is a fee of £10 per person for the afternoon workshop or £10 per child for the morning workshop (accompanying adults may attend free). Please pay in cash on the day.

Places are limited so booking is required:




bubble, bulge, bleb

LifeSpace, Discovery Centre, University of Dundee

22 September – 9 December

Saturdays 11am-5pm and by appointment with lifespace@dundee.ac.uk

(An outgrowth of the exhibition can also be seen at CentreSpace, Dundee Contemporary Arts 22 September – 28 October, Mon-Fri 11am-5pm Sat 12-5pm)

An exhibition of spirals, spheres and waves in art inspired by naturally occurring mathematical forms and computer-generated abstractions. Drawn from the University of Dundee’s collections, the exhibition features mathematical modelling of complex biological systems alongside work by artists including Mat Fleming, Andy Lomas, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Daniel Brown, Victor Pasmore and graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

LifeSpace Artist Talk: Sunday 15 October, 3-4pm

Find out more here


A Diagram of Forces

Outside Discovery Centre, Life Sciences, University of Dundee

22 September – 1 March, open 24 hours

This exhibition brings together work by artist Andy Lomas alongside scientific abstractions from physicist Dr Rastko Sknepnek, inspired by their shared view on the “perfection of mathematical beauty”.


Harmonious Complexity – 100 Years of On Growth and Form

Lamb Gallery, Tower Building, University of Dundee

13 October – 15 December

Mon-Fri 09.30-19.00 Sat 13.00-17.00

This special exhibition will explore the history of D’Arcy Thompson’s ground-breaking book and look at some of the many fields it has influenced, including biology, systems theory, art and architecture.

Find out more here


Digital D’Arcy

Sharing Not Hoarding, Dundee Waterfront

3 November – 12 January

Open 24 hours

Stunning images created during the making of 3D digital scans of specimens from the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum. Exhibited as part of NEoN, Dundee’s digital arts festival.


Exponential Growth

Tower Foyer Gallery, University of Dundee

4 November – 13 January

Mon-Fri 09.30-19.00 Sat 13.00-17.00

(closed 23 Dec – 7 Jan)

Graphic Design and Illustration students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design respond to D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form.

Find out more here




To mark the centenary we are publishing three new books:


Every Variety of Form and Colour – The D’Arcy Thompson Colouring Book

Illustrated by Gavin Rutherford

Buy online here


Transformations – The D’Arcy Thompson Comic

Illustrated by Elliot Balson, Helen Robinson and Letty Wilson

Buy online here


Growing and Forming – Essays on D’Arcy Thompson

(published by the Abertay Historical Society)

Essays by Matthew Jarron, Cathy Caudwell and Meic Pierce Owen

Buy online here


There are many more events happening around the world to mark the centenary - to find out more visit the On Growth and Form 100 website.


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