Biology, Mathematics, Biocybernetics and Systems


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



Mann, C.J.H. (2004), "Biology, Mathematics, Biocybernetics and Systems", Kybernetes, Vol. 33 No. 5/6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Biology, Mathematics, Biocybernetics and Systems

An interest in biocybernetics or the application of cybernetics to biology implies the use of mathematics. A recent report in Mathematics Today (December 2003) published by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications gives details of three books, written between 1999 and 2000, that contribute to this exciting and growing field. The details of the three books are given below.

Self-organised Biological Dynamics and Non-linear Control: Toward Understanding Complexity, Chaos and Emergent Function in Living Systems

J. Walleczwek (Ed.)Cambridge University Press2000428 pp.ISBN 0-521-62436-3£65.00 **

Mathematical Models for Biological Pattern Formation: Frontiers in Applications of Mathematics

IMA Volumes in Mathematics and its Applications 121P.K. Maini and H.G. Othmer (Eds)Springer-VerlagLondon, Berlin Heidleberg2001317. pp.ISBN 0-387 95103-2£96-00 **

On Growth and Form: Spatio-Temporal Pattern Formation in Biology

M.A.J. Chaplain, D. Sing and J.C. Mclachlan (Eds)John Wiley and Sons1999413 pp.ISBN 0-471-98451-5£80-00 **

These three books were compiled as a result of conferences in this field and in consequence provide a reasonable state-of-the-art account of recent developments, the second book on mathematical models being published by the IMA. The first two books listed have similar subjects concerning pattern formations whilst the third we are told “loosely focuses on chemical and electrical oscillations in biological systems and how these are affected by external stimuli”.

The report does suggest that “none of the volumes is perfect” but the readers in this field would find useful and enjoyable chapters in any of these books.

The recommendation from this report by Dr J.S. Amima (Imperial College, London, UK) is that anyone interested in biomathematics should look at all three, but that his personal choice is the IMA Volume by Maini and Othmer (Editors)

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