Patterning Nature: Molecules, Organisms, Populations,
Patterns can be found nearly everywhere in nature, from the microscopic world of chemical
structures to the macroscopic distribution of populations on this planet, and beyond. We will
discuss the physical basis of how these patterns emerge, and how they are analyzed in dif-
ferent scientific disciplines.
Our primary focus will be on the mesoscopic scale of patterns that are formed in multicellular
organisms: How does a single cell develop into a structured embryo? How is the symmetry
of an ensemble of cells broken to generate the adult body plan? How are fingers made, and
how do repetitive structures such as vertebrae or insect body segments develop? How do
zebras get their stripes and leopards their spots? In interactive sessions, we will discuss cur-
rent theories of pattern formation and the experimental evidence supporting these theories.
We will compare and contrast these concepts from developmental biology with other mi-
cro- and macroscopic patterns that form in nature, such as those found in crystals, chemical
mixtures, bacterial assemblies, waves, dunes, societies, and galaxies.
Dr. Patrick Müller
Systems Biology of Development Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max
Planck Society, Tübingen
Dr. Ben Jordan
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University / USA
Studierende der Biochemie, Biowissenschaften, Chemie, Physik und Mathematik
Akademie Ljubljana im Max Weber-Programm