Stephen Morris


Stephen Morris is the J. Tuzo Wilson Professor of Geophysics at the University of Toronto. His research involves experiments on emergent patterns in fluids,

granular media, ice formations and fracture. He is also interested in natural patterns, and in the history of physics. He has sometimes passed off his scienti c images

as art.

Artist statement

I am interested in self-organized, emergent patterns and textures. I take photos of patterns both from the natural world and of experiments in my laboratory in the

department of Physics at the University of Toronto. Patterns naturally attract casual attention but are also the subject of serious scienti c research. Some things just

evolve all by themselves into strikingly regular shapes and textures. Why? These shapes emerge spontaneously from a dynamic process of growing, folding,

cracking, wrinkling, branching, flowing and other kinds of morphological development. My photos are informed by the scienti c aesthetic of nonlinear physics, and

mathematics lurks behind every image for those who know where to look for it. But no special knowledge is required to appreciate the results. Each image shows an

object, sometimes quite small and often familiar, with a self-composed regular structure. Some images are from laboratory physics experiments and some are

from Nature, and all celebrate the subtle interplay of order and complexity in emergent patterns.


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