Knitted biological specimens on display in Dundee

Knitting and biology will come together to celebrate the reopening of the University of Dundee’s D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum for the summer season.

‘Botanica Mathematica’, which will open on Friday, 2nd June, is an exhibition of knitted artworks inspired by mathematical biology. Mathematician Julia Collins and Textile Artist Madeleine Shepherd have combined their skills to create the pieces on display. They took inspiration from ‘On Growth and Form’, the seminal book written by Dundee’s first professor of Biology, D’Arcy Thompson.

The specimen collection consists mainly of crowd-sourced contributions of Binary Bonsai trees and each piece uses computer science and geometry as part of its design.

Madeleine said, “I’m delighted to be bringing Botanica Mathematica to Dundee. The ideas behind the core patterns stems from my reading of ‘On Growth and Form’ many years ago. There’s nowhere more fitting to exhibit this project than amidst D’Arcy’s own collection in the centenary year of his major work.

“This is the culmination of four years of work, not only for Julia and myself but for the knitters around the world who have contributed their imaginative work to the collection.”  

‘On Growth and Form’ is celebrating its 100th anniversary and remains widely admired by biologists, anthropologists and architects. D’Arcy was a pioneer of mathematical biology and held the position of Professor of Natural History at University College, Dundee for 32 years.

The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum is open every Friday from 2-4:30pm until 30th June.

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